Design for Subjective Wellbeing

Track Chairs

Dr Rebecca Cain,
Loughborough University, UK

Dr. Ann Petermans,
Hasselt University, Belgium

Prof. Dr. Pieter Desmet,
Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands

Dr. Anna Pohlmeyer,
Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands

Dr. Leandro Tonetto,
Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos (Unisinos), Brazil

Prof. Dr. Jan Vanrie,
Hasselt University, Belgium

An important facet of wellbeing is subjective wellbeing – or happiness (as one in four people are affected by mental health conditions). It has become a multidisciplinary topic of interest for designers, psychologists, politicians and economists, over the last two decades, as the Western world has been moving from an economic/materialistic society focused on material wealth, to a more holistic and experiential society, where more value is now placed on personal experiences. There has been a realisation that we have arrived in a post-materialistic culture where experience and meaningful engagement which contributes to our wellbeing is seen as the ultimate goal, rather than ownership of more material possessions.

This change of focus from material to more personal and experiential opens up opportunities for design, and for design education. Indeed, next to in-depth research on design for SWB, the topic is also increasingly now taught at design schools. Therefore, for this session we invite papers which focus on exploring Design for Subjective Wellbeing, that is, how design can afford people to have pleasurable and meaningful experiences, thus potentially having a positive impact on their happiness. Equally, contributions that focus on design for subjective wellbeing education are particularly welcomed. Here, we aim to exchange experiences, practices, and ideas about design for subjective wellbeing education.

Contributions are invited which explore and / or demonstrate design research or design education regarding design for subjective wellbeing from across the broad landscape of products, services, systems and environments and their associated disciplines. Contributions which transcend traditional disciplinary boundaries, or illuminate international perspectives and cultures are particularly welcomed.

Indicative References:

Cain, R. & Petermans, A. (forthcoming in 2018). Design for Wellbeing: an applied approach. Routledge: Abingdon.

Desmet, P.M.A., & Pohlmeyer, A.E. (2013). Positive design: An introduction to design for subjective well-being. International Journal of Design, 7(3), 5-19.

Pohlmeyer A. (2012). Design for happiness. Interfaces, 92, 8-11.

Stevens, R., Petermans, A., Vanrie, J. (2014) Converting happiness theory into (interior) architectural design missions: designing for subjective wellbeing in residential care centres. In Proceedings of the 6th Annual Architectural Research Symposium, Finland 2014: Designing and Planning the Built Environment for Human Well-Being.

Jimenez, S., Pohlmeyer, A.E., Desmet, P.M.A. & Huzen, G. (2014). Learning from the positive: A structured approach to possibility-driven design. In The colors of care: Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Design and Emotion 2014 (pp. 607-615). Bogota, Colombia, 6-10 October 2014. Bogota: Universidad de Los Andes.

Payne, S., Mackrill, J., Cain, R., Strelitz, J. & Gate, L. 2015). Developing interior design briefs for health-care and well-being centres through public participation. Architectural Engineering and Design Management, 11(4), pp. 264-279.

Petermans, A., Vanrie, J. & Pint, K. (forthcoming, 2017). Research in Interior Architecture: Interdisciplinary Viewpoints and Research Approaches. In P.E. Vermaas & S. Vial (Eds.), Advancements in the Philosophy of Design. London: Springer.

Pohlmeyer, A., & Desmet, P.M.A. (2017). From good to the greater good. In Chapman, J. (Ed.), Routledge Handbook of Sustainable Product Design.