Get inspiration from artifacts

Found in "Design as art" by Bruno Munari, Penguin, 2009

"Go into the kitchen and open the first drawer you come to and the odds are you’ll find the wooden spoon that is used to stir soups and sauces. If this spoon is of a certain age you will see it no longer has its original shape. It has changed, as if a piece had been cut obliquely off the end. Part of it is missing.

We have (though not all at once, of course) eaten the missing part mixed up in our soup. It is continual use that has given the spoon its new shape. This is the shape the saucepan has made by constantly rubbing away at the spoon until it eventually shows us what shape a spoon for stirring soup should be.

This is a case (and there are many) in which a designer can learn what shape to make the object he is designing, especially if it is a thing destined to come into frequent contact with other things, and which therefore takes it particular shape according to the use to which it is put."

Why do I blog this? I find that this excerpt is a good example about how objects (reflecting traces of human activity) can lead to inspiration in design. Will try to use this in the workshop at ENSCI tomorrow.