Blog Post 13: The Human Condition And How It Affects My Design Work

The Human Condition and How It Affects My Design Work:

Personally, the first thing which comes to my mind is the fact that it is a pure miracle how every single person in the world is totally unique in their appearance, intelligence and personality. The reproductive process of humans is amazing because there is such variety and individuality being created continually. To me, this is pure genius. We all have a different fingerprint and D.N.A. Everybody is on a different journey and has various things to offer the world. Even sets of twins, who may look identical, have different souls and personalities. Hence, I always ensure my design work parallels with this philosophy because to me design must be unique and new to be world changing and successful.

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Life is such a fragile thing. Many of my dear family and friends have passed away and I am highly in tune with the fact that we should appreciate and make the most of every moment. It is incredibly important to me to do what I enjoy more now than when I was younger because I am more aware that we can be here in this world one minute and then gone the next. Therefore, I have made a conscious decision to widen my experiences and have an additional career at this point in my life.

I am very interested in whether there is an afterlife and about reincarnation too.  I have seen many of my family members, shortly after dying and feeling that their bodies were now empty vessels, with their souls having being taken to another place. Reincarnation is the philosophical or religious concept that the non-physical essence of a living being starts a new life in a different physical form or body after biological death. It is also called rebirth and is a part of the Saṃsāra doctrine of cyclic existence. It is a central tenet of Indian religions, namely Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Hinduism, although there are Hindu groups that do not believe in reincarnation but believe in an afterlife. A belief in rebirth/metempsychosis was held by Greek historic figures, such as Pythagoras, Socrates, and Plato. It is also a common belief of various ancient and modern religions such as Spiritism, Theosophy, and Eckankar, and as an esoteric belief in many streams of Orthodox Judaism. It is found as well in some tribal societies around the world, in places such as Australia and South America. In the future, I would like to take elements of these societies and incorporate them into my design work.

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I am becoming increasingly concerned about how the oceans are being carelessly polluted with plastics, which affects the sea creatures on our planet. I have therefore based my Biomimicry project this Semester upon the fact that we need to spread the message about not polluting our oceans with plastic.

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I also now will not eat meats such as lamb, as I see it very cruel to kill babies (human or animal) for our personal satisfaction. In this age of Hypermodernism, more and more people are also becoming concerned with how we must look after the animals, sea creatures and the nature areas of our world, as well as ourselves. I also feel that there should be enough areas with grass, trees, flowers etc. left within towns and cities, rather than investors building high storey flats. Going green is crucial to my design work, visually and physically too. I have designed many fabrics with leaves, flowers etc. In the future, I also want to ideally source materials which have been ethically made and are sustainable for our planet too. Below are some images of my design work, which I have transferred digitally to fabrics, as part of my Biomimicry project, this term. They are both observational pieces of work taken from my garden at home. The first one is photography and the second one is a watercolour painting which I had the pleasure of doing in the sunshine on a warm day.


I am also concerned about air pollution, such as in the Tower Hamlets of London. It is one of the poorest areas of London and is certainly the most polluted. It has been reported that one in five children living in the borough suffer from asthma. Pollution has a direct correlation with health problems and I find this statistic alarming. The Vexed Parka jacket, in the image below, was designed so that the lower part of the hood could be used as a face mask to protect oneself from pollution. I fear that this is the style of clothes gangsters would wear, who are committing crimes such as dealing drugs and knifing people. I would like to see a softer more gentle design which would be appropriate for the young, innocent children who are victims to the air pollution through no fault of their own. This is something I would certainly like to work on in the future, as I have a profound love of children and have experienced much gratitude and admiration from many children who live in incredibly deprived areas, through my experience of being a primary school teacher. The parents and teachers too would also benefit from a more appealing look which doesn’t look so intimidating. Softer colours is the first concept which comes to my mind but as time evolves, I can develop further design ideas which would be appropriate.

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An awareness of self, emotions, physicalities, sensory perception and an awareness of the past, present and future are all aspects of the human condition. Many of us question ‘why are we here?’ We seek a deeper meaning to our lives than animals. I believe the human condition is a high form of intelligence, where we seek understanding, compassion, co-operation, our purpose & self-development rather than just surviving and reproducing.

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Artists and designers make visual comments about what it means to be alive.  They observe how it feels physically to be human.  Artists show an understanding of how language both conveys and fails to convey feelings, fears and desires.  They know how to present the human condition visually, physically, spatially, via sound and moving images etc. to create experiences for audiences and observers.  Some artists and designers challenge and present findings as honestly as possible, even if it is an uncomfortable experience. They use their materials to challenge identity and what it means to exist. Sometimes, they fuse existence with political and social concerns. I want to do that too, as a designer, to raise awareness of climate change. As Ruutiainen P. has stated (2013) in ‘From the Coolest Corner, Nordic Jewellery’, ‘some have made jewellery from driftwood…shaped and smoothed by the sea’. He also states that ‘in recent years people have become far more concerned about where materials come from and whether they have been produced and refined in ways that are ethically defensible and environmentally sustainable.’ Ruutianen P. is M.A. Doctor of Arts (Art & Design) at the University of Lapland. He has been a lecturer at HUMAK University and has written art critiques and articles in Finnish newspapers and magazines.

I also personally feel that natural objects which have been shaped by nature’s forces can be the most beautiful. Of course, diamonds are the most beautiful ( in my opinion) but unfortunately they are not attainable for the majority. I would like to explore how to use naturally formed materials for jewellery and to make them accessible to the majority of the public. I intend to conduct further research on this to inform my future work.

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Also, during London Fashion Week, Alessandro Michele took inspiration from Hannah Arendt’s book The Human Condition for his AW19 Gucci collection. Hannah reminds us that we are persons when we choose the mask through which we appear on the world’s stage. Hence, masks were created for the collection. I am totally aware that we all put on different masks for different groups of people. We have different comfort zones within different groups and we also have a basic human instinct to be able to fit into groups and therefore we adjust our behaviour accordingly.

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As I have said in a previous post, I am drawn towards designing and making theatrical headwear and accessories. Masks are something I have enjoyed creating in the past too and I would very much like to explore this further in the future too.

So, I conclude that the human condition underpins our whole sense of being and how we develop our values and ideals in life. Art and fashion are both ways in which this can be visually portrayed and draw people into discussion about the meaning of life and what our purpose and ideals are on our short journey of life. I find this intriguing and will pursue this further in my own design work in the future.


Ruutiainen P. (2013) ‘From the Coolest Corner, Nordic Jewellery’, Arnoldsche Art Pub. (pages 26 -27)

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