Speculative Citizen Design
research project

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Mainliner Design  |  Tony Fry

In his programmatic text 'Design after Design', which seeks to outline an alternative curriculum for design education, theorist Tony Fry distinguishes between four design ontologies, or self-concepts of design practitioners.
He describes as Mainliners 'those architects and designers hooked on making it in the mainstream. Their horizon is fixed by unconstrained ambition, the fetishization of the designed object, market success and uncritical cultural recognition. Some become successful cynics, most become cynical failures.'
Mainliner designers suggest universal solutions. At the onset of the pandemic, immediate mainliner proposals quickly became ubiquitous: plexiglass shields and physical distancing systems, ie. floor markers, barrier tapes, ...

Further reading:
Fry, Tony, “Design after design”, Design Philosophy Papers, 2017, 15:2, 99-102, DOI: 10.1080/14487136.2017.1392093
Studio at the Edge of the World