Impermanent Devices


Impermanent Devices is a multidisciplinary research platform focused on the concept of Impermanence in design. The platform provides a framework for designers to imagine and evaluate projects as they relate to temporality, materiality, mutability, and aesthetics, all through the lens of Impermanence.





TEMPORALITY: Within the Buddhist understanding of time and cyclicality is the idea that all things have a renewable lifespan. Each device is designed with regards to the present, but also in anticipation of how it should be adapted to future uses through an understanding of various devices’ past use. Impermanent Devices consist of renewable lifespan projects that can be applicable in different scales of design.

MATERIALITY: With renewability at its core, Impermanent Devices' approach to materiality is to minimize the overall cost of construction and assembly over the long-term. The platform utilizes modular, flexible systems and common, every day materials while incorporating contemporary technology and sustainability methods. The end goal is that the materials can be repurposed or recycled at the end of the structure's natural life.

MUTABILITY: Embedded within the concept of impermanence is that of transience. As applied to design, devices are subject to change, either materially or through the perception of users. Different states can be created through lighting, sounds, use of certain materials, or physical movement. A device or design can also be transformed to be applied in different contexts and scales.

AESTHETICS: The aesthetics of Impermanence is rooted in the concept of mono no aware (物の哀れ), a Japanese design concept, part of which focuses on the appreciation of transient beauty. The devices appear, disappear, dissolve, and evolve from one moment to the next and change at the same pace as the site's function demands. Unlike conventional architecture, they are not an end in themselves but encourage continual change and refinement.