Familiar Stranger

Familiar Stranger

As a designer, Francesco Pace knows that for a design to work, it must be absolutely clear about the message it projects. Cognitived issonance, a discrepancy between what we believe to be true and what we observe in front of us, breeds discomfort. We understand the world and feel safe in it through the narratives we all share and repeat to each other. To relieve the discomfort, people tend to avoid any situation that may cause it. And so do designers. Design takes an active part in creating and maintaining these narratives. Nonetheless, Pace decided he would play with our expectations. By making us wrongly believe the materials he uses will have a soft tactility, he has created a tension in the way we experience his work: a hard, sturdy doorstopper that looks soft like a sock left on the floor, a floor tile whose surface appears to have been rippled by water dripping down on it. Do such choices make ‘failed’ designs, or do they deepen our experience because we need to think harder before we understand what we are looking at?

Francesco Pace