The map should not be better than the empire!

Old Persian Map

I think it is very important to maintain the map slightly worse than the reality you are mapping.

While designing things and products, the role of a designer could be compared with Jean Baudrillard’s cartographer experiment: a thought experiment where in a certain reality a cartographer became so powerful at his art that the map of the empire he created became better than the empire itself. People considered artificial reality as real. Meanwhile the real empire became a desert that lay under the map. A vast and empty space that nobody cared about was hidden with a much better version of it.

This similarity is also observed when you see a couple staring at their screens. This is the problem with modern design: it’s becoming better than reality. The products of the modern design are out-debating reality by many parameters. The birth of a new gadget is celebrated like it was the birth of Christ and people are awaiting a new version of a better bit of reality.

As for us at dot home we tend to leave gaps in the design. The gaps that would leave the user a window to their own space. We aim to ‘under-design’ our objects: there is always something left undone by purpose. In a manner where the user decides where to leave the reality or emerge in the better version of it.

Involving people in making their own map, allows them the choice of map it should be and where they want to end up: under the map or above it.

– Leonid