Object are defined by the culture they originated from. It’s origin can be perceived in one way or another
This original cultural identity is reflected in the use of language, it’s object’s code (like I mentioned previously) and the way it’s used.
One of the defining characteristic of cultural identity is the ability of reflecting and representing the values of the corresponding culture. This is important regarding the designer ability to include signifiers into his or her work. I’m talking about the ability to effectively communicate the desired message. The way a designer can select different values and reflect them in the product that’s being designed.
The concept behind the revalorization of culture is precisely about taking positive values of the local culture to the purpose of reinforce or even reintroduce them into the current cultural frame.
This revalorization often happens as a counter-reaction to new cultural values that threaten old ones, or happens as a counter to new cultural movements or cultural impositions from foreign cultures. Revalorization resorts to a shared cultural history. It would seem that for a revalorization to happen the values it represents must be at some level be threatened, maybe by new opposing values or just maybe by falling into obscurity.
Cultural revalorization can show up in products in different forms, mainly as a communicational aspect. In there the semiotic component that define the values must be defined and identified. These can be visual elements, resources or local codes or maybe elements that are relevant to that value by association. All these elements helps to conform the form of the product.
We can also fin other levels like the one that covers the way products are used. Often cultural revalorization deal with particular practices and rites and it’s indispensable that the product represents them correctly, otherwise the product will lose all its reason to exist. This practices can include forms of consumption, relationships between individuals and even manufacturing practices, which is another important part of cultural revalorization that deals with maintaining regional and traditional crafts that are being forgotten because of big scale manufacturing. In these cases products not only must function properly but also its semantics must communicate the minutiae of the craft. The processes and technologies used during the fabrication must be highlighted in a way that they can be easily perceived as in those aspects is where the value of the product lies. Local craft not only has value as heritage but also because they reflect the real needs of the environment, after all they were originally developed because of the constraints in the local context, something that’s missing from large scale manufacturing that uses resources from all over the world.
The designer is a cultural producer (which is a very important role as we live in a material culture) and as such has a lot of responsibility to society that goes beyond just economical development. As a designer one should ask himself, at the beginning of each project, if you’re really introducing a positive contribution to the world of objects that conform our environment. Cultural revalorization is a means to channel a positive impact.
And lets not forget that every action of producing is a declaration and thus it’s important to be aware of what you’re communicating. Products might seem to be just a functional thing, defined only by it’s use. In fact their communicational function is incredibly important from a social standpoint so the designer has to be careful about what he says with them.