Design thinking: how to create more human experiences through architecture

Design thinking is a work methodology that deals with the elaboration of projects in a more humane way, putting people first. A contemporary process that combines human issues with technology and innovative solutions.

Innovation is one of the fundamental pillars of the methodology, which is why they are processes with a systemic view of the challenges, with a long time span and with a high capacity for raising awareness and engaging with people as a result. 

The methodology is of a collective nature, working with different visions and points of view, adding greater versatility to the results, as well as a greater perception in the interpretation of the information and solutions that will be applied.

The first step in developing the methodology is data collection. The collection can come through rhetorical questions that create inputs in the form of a map of concepts, principles and needs. These are not complex questions; in the case of architectural projects, these are usually basic questions, such as:

  • customer profile, aspirations, references;
  • location, surroundings, flows and events;
  • material, cultural, human resources;
  • program of needs and vision of the future;
  • operation, maintenance and janitorial.

With these points raised, which often are also not clear to the client, we begin to envision a baseline scenario for the context that is being designed in the work. At this point, it is worth adding references, in order to complete, as a “quick” benchmark, and be able to assess how similar situations and projects worked on their issues. And, from that, absorb the lessons learned.

As a next step, it is essential to understand which are the most relevant elements of this data collection. Presenting this scenario to the client, and what the challenges, opportunities, conflicts and solutions are, causes new questions to emerge, as well as starting point definitions.

In the case of intelligent architecture, it is precisely at this moment that architectural guidelines emerge and are crossed with all recorded data. The biggest gain from this process is knowing the whys. Individual and collective choices can be easily identified and placed alongside technical issues, bringing greater security and less margin of error.

The design thinking process goes far beyond the project, as the systemic view requires a deepening in areas that are not directly related to the architecture of spaces, thinking more about the possible dynamics, experiences, sensations and connections that people will have as a result, being reached with empathy by the process.

Whether projects for individuals or companies, after all, they are always being designed for people; we are always dealing with people. Therefore, it is fundamental that the process is, from the beginning, also treated as a construction of desires and connections.

With the clarity of a global and future vision that the process allows, the choice of finishes, infrastructure and furniture is much easier and more agile, as the client's priorities are much more defined. 

At the Parque do Povo dog park project developed by Plantar Ideias, although the result was simple, the journey was very rich and complex, as there were many wishes for the space, but also many restrictions on the part of the community and the client. 

Develop the design thinking it was essential for the project to flow and for the client to be satisfied, as he was able to have a systemic view of the process and could envision the result, understanding how the project would positively impact the life of the park community on his journey with his pet. 

Design thinking is an approach that can be applied to different types of projects, as long as they have a sensitive look at people's experience and, thus, achieve more meaningful results for all. 

Check out more about the work carried out at Parque do Povo and become aware of the projects developed by Plantar Ideias.

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