Book Info
left icon
setting icon
Speculative Everything book image

Speculative Everything

By Anthony Dunne, Fiona Raby

book iconMIT Press


How to use design as a tool to create not only things but ideas, to speculate about possible futures.

Today designers often focus on making technology easy to use, sexy, and consumable. In Speculative Everything, Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby propose a kind of design that is used as a tool to create not only things but ideas. For them, design is a means of speculating about how things could be—to imagine possible futures. This is not the usual sort of predicting or forecasting, spotting trends and extrapolating; these kinds of predictions have been proven wrong, again and again. Instead, Dunne and Raby pose “what if” questions that are intended to open debate and discussion about the kind of future people want (and do not want).

Speculative Everything offers a tour through an emerging cultural landscape of design ideas, ideals, and approaches. Dunne and Raby cite examples from their own design and teaching and from other projects from fine art, design, architecture, cinema, and photography. They also draw on futurology, political theory, the philosophy of technology, and literary fiction. They show us, for example, ideas for a solar kitchen restaurant; a flypaper robotic clock; a menstruation machine; a cloud-seeding truck; a phantom-limb sensation recorder; and devices for food foraging that use the tools of synthetic biology. Dunne and Raby contend that if we speculate more—about everything—reality will become more malleable. The ideas freed by speculative design increase the odds of achieving desirable futures.

Summary by AI

Speculative Everything: Design, Fiction, and Social Dreaming by Anthony Dunne

Authors' Background:

  • Anthony Dunne is a British designer and professor of design at the Royal College of Art in London.
  • He is known for his work on speculative design, which explores possible futures through design concepts.

Main Theme:

  • The book argues that design is not just about creating objects, but also about shaping the future.
  • It explores how speculative design can be used to imagine and create alternative futures.

Key Points:

  • Design is not neutral: It always has a political and social dimension.
  • Speculative design: Can help us to think critically about the present and to imagine alternative futures.
  • Social dreaming: Is a process of collective imagination that can be used to create new visions of the future.


  • Positive:
    • Praised for its originality and thought-provoking ideas.
    • Has been influential in the field of speculative design.
  • Negative:
    • Some critics argue that it is too abstract and theoretical.
    • Others question the practicality of speculative design.

Who Should Read It:

  • Designers, architects, and other creative professionals.
  • Anyone interested in the future of design and technology.
  • People who want to explore alternative ways of thinking about the future.


Peter Trizuliak



close icon
Sign In
close icon
Select Languages

Which languages of books would you like to see on the main feed?

All Languages
close icon
Share Links
close icon
Share Review
close icon
No comments yet