Title: The spirit of design: notes from the shakuhachi flute

Authors: Stuart Walker

Addresses: ImaginationLancaster, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YW, UK

Abstract: This paper examines how human values associated with meaning and spiritual development can affect the design of a functional object and in turn, how the use of such an object can reinforce such values. These factors are considered in terms of their connections to contemporary discussions about sustainability. A particular artefact has been selected, the Japanese shakuhachi flute, which is described in terms of its design, use and meaning. The characteristics that emerge are compared to those of modern electronic goods and more generally applicable priorities are developed in which design is considered a manifestation of, and contributor, to meaning.

Keywords: shakuhachi flute; sustainability; technological goods; meaning; design principles; design priorities; Japan; sustainable design; spiritual development; human values.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSDES.2009.028880

International Journal of Sustainable Design, 2009 Vol.1 No.2, pp.130 - 144

Published online: 10 Oct 2009 *

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