Visceral Items of the Hand:
Digital Fabrication in Interior Design Pedagogy
General interior design education reconciles two distinct influences on overall pedagogy. The first is its traditional foundation of knowledge rooted in EXPERIENCE: a direct understanding and affinity for sound, light, color, pattern, texture, and materiality. The second is a preoccupation with the OBJECT: a concern for the primacy of form which is prevalent in the discipline of architecture, which has a fundamental relationship with the discipline of interior design. While both of these aspects have been based in the reality of “hands-on” understanding for much of their history, the increasing role of digital/virtual techniques in design-education environments has intensified a tension between the two. This tension can manifest in interior design students as a disdain for abstract representations, be they digital or merely orthographic; and may contribute to the observable disjuncture between the levels of use of digital design technologies in the two disciplines educationally and professionally. This paper attempts to ease the tension between these two aspects of interior design pedagogy by exposing the underlying learning desires built into them, and proposing a beginning digital design pedagogy which bridges the gap between traditional analog methods rooted in experience, and contemporary digital methods rooted in digital object visualization. This bridge is facilitated by the use of digital fabrication technologies which translate the virtual into the tactile, the digital into the analog, the abstract into the concrete.