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Chapter 1: Design > THE ARTIFACT - Pg. 4

Design Design, above all is concerned with the syn- thesis (Simon, 1996). In other words, the designer has to be able to combine different parts, elements, concepts and processes in order to define a new whole (Asimow, 1962). Note that the emphasis here is on finding the right arrangement, the good fitting of parts. The parts themselves do not have to be designed, they may pre-exist, embodying generic design concepts, which are applicable in a variety of contexts. Thus, synthesizing is a key capability the de- signer should be employing. In fact, the synthetic capacity is utilized continuously by our brains in everyday perception and action. Synthesis, as the key characteristic of human perception and cognition has been recognized by Kant (1999). He believed that human mind can be viewed as a set of functions, which need to be synthesized appropriately with the raw sensory data for facili- tating cognitive tasks. Modern science to a large leap from a problem definition to a detailed so- lution may lead to inferior outcomes, as not all promising avenues of design possibilities have been looked into. This is essentially a "premature convergence" issue in general problem solving. As Dorst puts it: "Designers spend part of their times in an artificial state of ignorance" (Dorst, 2006). Uncertainty in the early stages of design in this regard is something positive, as it appears. The concrete designed and constructed artifact should be freed of all the uncertainty. The message is, though, that the uncertainty should be removed slowly. In other words, design is considered as a gradual transformation of abstract artifacts into concrete ones. THE ARTIFACT In the regular common understanding of the term,