Digitally Enhanced

Technological innovation is enabling design ideas at all scales, from city planning to fashion. Here are six case studies.

The relationship between technology and design is continually evolving. New ways of working appear virtually every day. The truth is, we’re still in the midst of a digital revolution that started about 15 years ago with a burst of formal expression that announced, rather self-consciously, “I am a product of digital software!” What is changing now is our relationship to technology. We’re out of the playing-with-new-toys phase; instead, we’re engaging with our tools in increasingly sophisticated ways. This realization—that technology is an enabling tool rather than an engine for form—is the underlining theme for this issue. Consider Autodesk’s new Eco Materials Adviser. This powerful software, which provides product designers with the kind of instantaneous feedback that Building Information Modeling (BIM) now offers architects, may be the ultimate in style-agnostic technology. And that is as it should be. We understand that technology facilitates bad ideas as eagerly as brilliant ones. The good news? In the future, tools will continue to change rapidly, but ideas will still drive the process.

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