Drawing is one of the most prominent activities of a designer, who draws with different media ranging from the pencil to the computer mouse. The act of drawing is a multi-layered, multi-sensorial activity with a significant impact on creativity, creative output, thinking and knowledge production. It is above all an act with a long history related to mankind, hence to many disciplines that adopt the map, the symbol, the sketch, the plan, the section, the detail, …, all  related them to their discipline-specific acts of drawing. All this includes direct and vivid connections, back and forth, between the outcome and the first sketch.

What is space today? This question seems to come back time and again in the course of human history, and it asks for a precise and well-focused approach. History proves that we can re-think and re-design space in such a way that it opens new avenues to innovation and reflection. We can see spatiality in such a way that it opens up debates on political and social topics. There are numerous strategies to be investigated here, ranging from the transformation of immaterial and mental aspects in tangible space (so-called analogous spaces) to looking at old masters who focused on how space is related to mental aspects such as thinking, reflecting and understanding the world.

Drawing and space share a common history, and all along these historical lines—that reach as far as today—strong dependencies between the drawing and the space exist, which appear to make them inseparable, both in the conception and in the observation and understanding of space. In designing, looked at from a historical perspective, space is often that which drives designers to drawing, whereas drawing is often that which leads to new spaces. Innovative ways of drawing have led to innovative concepts of space. The urge for the latter has often instigated the quest for the former.

This co-existence of both entities—the drawing and the space— requires intense collaborations that lead to crosspollinations, and this lays at the base of this research environment. We believe that bringing these together may deeply change our view on this research landscape, and further expand it.

Jo Van Den Berghe & Thierry Lagrange


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