In order to use time in design, the designer must have elements that can change. Without change, time is perceived as frozen or at least irrelevant. Beyond the elements of change, we must have a method to witness time passing. This could be a clock or natural phenomena. Otherwise, as mentioned earlier, the designer can omit a method of timekeeping to provide perceptual games of experienced time. Furthermore, the lack of changing elements will also alter the perception of time passing. Finally, another entity that can be used to make or alter the sense of time is the space itself. The space can either accept or deny the passing of time through how the phenomenon is placed upon the space.
To improve time in design, the designer must be conscious of the existence and use of time to alter our understanding of an installation or reality itself. Then, the designer must deliberately use time and items that are affected by time. Meanwhile, the installation must work well with the other parts of the design, and the use of time must not be a one-liner while melding with the other senses and sensory inputs. How do these other senses compare and contrast with time? How would the sense of touch work with time? It is an exciting game that the designer can play mixing and matching the senses with time, and ultimately it needs to work well with the the main idea or plot of the design. Without this, the design will lack a thesis or clarity, and each of the parts of the design will be independent and lack cohesion.
If the intended design were only time, then the overall effect would be limited to the continuum of time passing and the viewer. Is time apparent to the viewer? Is the viewer part of the experience of time? How does the presence of time affect the viewer? How does the viewer affect the passing of time? If the design is only time, where is it experienced? What is the space, or is there not a space? If the space is not defined or extant, how is the viewer experiencing this? Is it a virtual or mental exhibit, and how would it be conveyed to the viewer, if so?
If a design did not incorporate time, then the installation would be continuous, without change. In this way, the design would never fall out of fashion and would have persistence in the viewer’s experience. Modernism attempts to do this to limit the variation and perception of time by avoiding design elements that rely on or create fads and fashions. Instead, the design is what is necessary and without ornamentation. Would it be possible that decoration and elements of frivolity help define the passing of time? If so, how? Is it the style and method of thought that went into the design and application of these? Does the method change with time, thus the designs change with time? Furthermore, is Modernism actually a fashion, and has this fashion come to an end with new needs in the Twenty-First Century?
There are alternative uses for time. These include applying time to add texture and measure or mark an event by superimposing time on the object. As such, the new combination or amalgamation of the elements causes a third or other state to emerge. Another use of time would be time for time’s sake in that the viewer puts time at the forefront and all thoughts and personal change or development is reflected upon by the viewer, without input or change from other elements or viewers. In this way, the experience of time could be similar or possibly just opposite the idea of the groove or zone that we experience when fully committed to an action or task.
In order to use time on an existing structure, we must either provide or strip away elements that convey time. As mentioned earlier, this could be timepieces, solar or natural cycles, but also, it can be the incorporation of design elements that change over time. These elements might be moveable or interactive features, or they may be the ornamentation itself. Most items of material culture fall in and out of style, and the addition or removal of these can provide the intention of the designer, whether to adjust or simply understand the perception of time. Time is both the index and the indexed, and nothing truly can exist without the presence of time.
Exploring the use of the sense of time is exciting, and it can be evaluated quantitatively, providing the accuracy of timekeeping or perception versus real, defined time, and it can also be evaluated qualitatively, through written documentation about the experience and feeling occurring through the passage and measure of the time. In both cases, the evaluations can be completed with the use of a clock and a method of recording information and thoughts, such as a computer or pen and paper.