Reflections on the Epistemology of Design: A Simondonian Analysis

Marta Gasparin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


In this paper, I investigate what constitutes a design object and the process of creating it, using a Simondonian perspective. This perspective allows to reflect on how a design emerges, its epistemological, axiomatic, and reflective processes. I will use Simondon’s theory on the mode of existence of technical objects to study design theories. This paper rethinks design as central in contemporary human sciences to propose a trans-disciplinary dialogue between design studies and philosophy, reflecting on the generation of knowledge in design. In this trans-disciplinary dialogue, I will analyse design as the outcome of a process that is innovative, emergent, fragile, existing in potentia until its boundaries are closed. I will contribute to design studies by demonstrating that the design’s materiality is fluid and variates, that it changes until it is closed in the final product. Objects are formed at a certain moment, but their technicity and materiality precede and go beyond them. They do not exist as predetermined, multifaceted matter but as of the outcome of their variation and continuity, captured in the evolving form. In fact, until the form is closed, definite, the design is perpetually in assemblage.
Original languageEnglish
JournalReflective Practice
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)822-833
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Design object
  • Design process
  • Design studies
  • Epistemology of design
  • Simondon
  • Technical objects

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