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The Role of Aesthetics in Engineering Design – Insights Gained from Cross-cultural Research into Traditional Fishing Vessels in Indonesia

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Richard Birmingham, I Wibawa



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of a conference proceedings (inc. abstract) that has been published in its final definitive form by CRC Press, 2018.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


The design of a small fishing vessel for the coastal waters of Indonesia is a straight forward technical challenge, however some initiatives to introduce newly designed vessels with more advanced tech-nology have been unsuccessful. The observation that the appearance of rejected craft contrasts markedly with the traditional vessels operating in the area has led to the consideration of the importance of aesthetics in engi-neering design that is reported in this paper. Definitions of beauty, their relevance to engineering design, and alternative approaches to decisions regarding form and style are discussed, with examples taken from the marine domain. A proposal to make explicit the place of aesthetics in one theoretical model of the design process is followed by a description of the design of a fishing vessel for eastern Java, this being an example of cross-cultural design in practice, where aesthetics was given a prominent role.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Birmingham R, Wibawa PA

Editor(s): Pentti Kujala

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: 13th International Marine Design Conference (IMDC 2018)

Year of Conference: 2018

Online publication date: 11/06/2018

Acceptance date: 18/02/2018

Date deposited: 19/02/2018

Publisher: CRC Press


Notes: Publication of the conference proceedings due 01/06/2018

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

Series Title: IMDC

ISBN: 9781138541870