Design as Freedom in practice
This work explores freedom as an alternative driving principle for design. Based on philosophical discussions, freedom is seen as tightly linked to morality, leaving room for sustainability, which for its part, is understood as a moral ideal that implies justice in the environmental and social spheres. The model of assemblage is introduced as a unit of study, which enables the treatment of users and their environments to be the initial situation for a design intervention. By generating new relationships among elements, a better assemblage is achieved.
The Design as Freedom principle is observed in practice through a project called Aalto LAB Mexico (ALM). ALM is developed in a marginalised, rural, indigenous community in the municipality of Calakmul, in the state of Campeche, Mexico. ALM identified the emergence of a double-sided mirror perspective, in which the design team and the participant end-users reciprocally inspire each other to reflect deeply, and assess and even change their own ways of life. Design as Freedom is a longitudinal co-design process that aims for the mutual empowerment of participant end-users and designers.