What’s Design Mean to You? An Interview with Kars Alfrink

Interview number ten is with Kars Alfrink. How’s that for a cool name? On his own site, leapfrog.nl, he describes his work so: “I design the dialogue between people and the products & services they use, with the help of a broad range of sketching and prototyping techniques.”

Kars’ answer went in an interesting direction, quite different from any other answers I got in the interviews:

The unique thing about design, as opposed to other disciplines such as engineering, is the capacity to imagine things that are not actually here yet, and imagine them in such a way that they can be experienced. [snip] The designer has the capacity to make them tangible in some way, for other people, without them needing to be built.

As you’d imagine from this quote, Kars does a lot of prototyping, which he explains in some detail. He also said some pretty interesting, and uncoventional, things about the relationship between design and understanding of, and involvement in, the technologies of implementation.

I interviewed eleven smart people at Reboot10 in Copenhagen, Denmark, asking the same question: what’s design mean to you? This is the next-to-last and tenth video in the series. The last interview with Thomas Vander Wal will be up shortly.