Digital Culture, Design Thinking & Ecosystems

Circular Courtyard at GCHQ, Cheltenham, UK

Over on Dezeen I have a two part piece on how digital culture is shaping design – altering its methods and its scope. It talks about the idea of ecology – both the use of the world as a metaphor for systems of hardware and software and as a re-making of an idea of nature as revealed in the new HQ’s for Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon.

Part 1: As details of the American National Security Agency’s Prism programme emerge, alongside concerns about democracy, freedom, state surveillance and the complicity of corporations, something also seems to be revealed about the ways in which digital technologies are fundamentally reformulating the ways in which design – a new kind of design born out of digital culture – now organises and impacts the way we live.

Part 2: How Google Maps is reshaping cities while Apple, Facebook and Amazon are reshaping the natural landscape by building their own headquarters as self-contained ecosystems.

The illustrations here are the interior landscaped courtyards of Foster’s proposed Apple HQ (below) and of GCHQ (above), the UK Government Communications Headquarters. Both are strange worlds within worlds, ecologies isolated from the word by the architecture that bounds them. Seen here, they assume a strange planetary form. Both perhaps suggest how the digital is reframing things we once thought exceeded the possibility of design.

Circular Courtyard, Proposed Apple HQ by Foster & Partners



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