Core77's editor in chief, Allan Chochinov, has published a great piece over at Adobe's Design Center Think Tank, all about the utility of "fictional" products. It's a thoughtful, eloquent answer to the question, "Why should we care about a product we can't even buy?" or "What difference does it make if it isn't real, or in production?"
Part of his argument goes like this: as (very TreeHugger) ideals like rapid prototyping and 3D printing come closer to everyday use, designers can change the way they think about (and the way they design) the things they design, because we won't need to "consume" them, in the traditional sense. The slow boat from China model is out, and the importance of "fictional" products -- that is, products that won't ever be manufactured -- is in, and with it, a whole new way of interacting with the world, with design, with stuff.
It's a fascinating, forward-looking piece, perfect for early-year consumption. Read the whole piece at Adobe Design Center and hit the jump for one of the more meaningful excerpts. ::Adobe via ::Core77"When we consider the near-future of on-demand printing, rapid prototyping machines, and home fabbers, the distinction between 'prototyping tools' and 'production tools' breaks down almost entirely. And for much of what designers produce, there may be no mandate to mass-produce their work at all. If the 'ideas of design' are just as effective at communicating thoughts around experience, behavior, culture, and enterprise as the injection-molded kind, there's really no necessity for these virtual artifacts to ever leave the virtual realm. It may indeed be best to leave them in the sphere of idea -- consuming them through pixels and sharing them across networks and communities -- rather than hauling them around in shipping containers and disposing of them as soon as we're bored."