lo Squaderno (Jun 2019)

Fluid Design

  • Vincent Van Uffelen,
  • Rocio von Jungenfeld

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 14, no. 52
pp. 55 – 60


Read online

Design is an inherently fluid process, that intrinsically has to remain open to be shaped by contexts and constraints and that, once applied in its many variations, extrinsically can influence the flows of matter, life, information, and energy that make up urban space. However, to design the city means to intervene with an irrepressible environment that is rhythmically changing and in constant flux. As, given enough time, nothing in the city remains as is, materials decay, fluids flow in and out, people stop by or die, thoughts sink into oblivion, and energy just dissipates. Designers might have to acknowledge their impermanent impact and focus their efforts on influencing the flows that are mostly out of their control. Fluid design is a proposal to add relationships, process, flows, and patterns to the traditional design concerns of form and meaning. And suggests, not only, that actions inspired by water management and electromagnetic wave theory, such as blocking, spreading, sinking, amplifying, dampen, modulating, or diffracting, could be used to continually shape the flows that make the city. But, also that analysing the urban fabric from a systemic perspective and seeing it as ecosystem that can be influenced by changing its underlying flows and structures, gives designers a powerful new toolkit to influence the further development of cities.