How can we remain open to the curiosity, inspiration, and joy that ambiguity has to offer?

Photo by Alex Kalinin on Unsplash
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Why Ambiguity?
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Date Added: 
May 2019

Relationship to Ambiguity

Amélie is a film, described as a "fanciful comedy," about a young French woman who views the world with curiosity and playfulness. Amélie turns everyday moments into ones of mystery. Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet shot the film in over 80 Parisian locations and uses beautiful imagery and colors throughout.

The film shows how Amélie, throughout her life, handles ambiguity by creating her own world of wonder and stories. She does not reject ambiguity but instead uses it as fuel for a richer life. It's an inspiration and beautiful reframe of the role of ambiguity in our lives. In particular, the intro scenes about her childhood and the suspenseful scenes near the end where she is chasing a mystery man.




I've seen the film multiple times but have not used it in a classroom context yet. I believe it would be useful for learners as they prepare for synthesis work to think about what is the role of ambiguity and how can we use analogous inspiration to advance our design point of view.




Reflections include: how embracing ambiguity can serve as a source of direction and inspiration in design work, how every day life is full of signs and metaphors, how our own minds distort and interpret the world, and how relationships shape our life experiences

Design Abilities Used

Build & Craft Intentionally: Amélie takes great care of the physical objects in her life and views them as powerful.

Move between Concrete & Abstract: Throughout the entire film, the director is taking you on a mysterious journey and keeps you suspended between multiple realities. It's one of those movies where you might think, "I'm not sure what this part is about, but I'm really enjoying it." He then lands on concrete moments shortly after but not before some dangling in the abstract.


Submitted by:

Tania Anaissie
Tania Anaissie
Founder and CEO, Beytna Design

Design Abilities Used

Build + Craft Intentionally
Move Between Concrete + Abstract
Learn More about Design Abilities 


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