Dwelling with Design

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisMonograph


Dwelling with Design offers a throughout look at the domestic meanings of design. The research is based on studying households in and around Helsinki, in order to find out what role, if any, design plays in the domestication of a product. The picture emerging from the research is quite different from design’s public and professional image represented for example in the interior decoration magazines, where designed qualities such as usability, reliability, interesting branding and aesthetic coherence are usually held to be signs of a successful design. In the everyday of homes, however, people love their ugly and broken, anonymous and odd looking products. For a user, a home is rarely a space to be furnished with design. Instead, home is a dwelling place and design derives its significance from the household’s dwelling practices. The book explores design’s role in the dwelling practices by which home is curated as a place for physical, social and spiritual recreation. Designed properties of a product play an important role but the key properties which make the product great are usually such that cannot be designed without knowing intimately home’s practices, that is, what constitutes recreation in a particular household. Home’s best products are acquired to fit with the ecology of practices and those that will not fit, tend to turn clutter.
Translated title of the contributionDwelling with design
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor's degree
Awarding Institution
  • Aalto University
  • Koskinen, Ilpo, Supervising Professor
  • Koskinen, Ilpo, Thesis Advisor
Place of PublicationHelsinki
Print ISBNs978-952-60-4929-8
Electronic ISBNs978-952-60-4930-4
Publication statusPublished - 2013
MoE publication typeG4 Doctoral dissertation (monograph)


  • design
  • living
  • home
  • furniture
  • consumers


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