As much as I’d like to believe one could design a space or craft an item that carried the conceptual and dialectical weight of an entire philosophical system, I can’t see how it’s possible. The more concrete and functional a thing becomes, the less explicit the conceptual content becomes. It might suggest a functional innovation; but with any practical function, the utility overwhelms the concept. Externally considered, the piece in question could have come from any number of diverse conceptual frameworks, or have been crafted independently from any philosophy and merely from aesthetic or practical considerations.
The more utile, the more definitively objective, and objective definition defies the dialectical process I’m interested in engendering.
Perhaps this is the difference between art and craft. Art is ambiguous, while craft is definite. “Functional art” is paradoxical because function necessitates specificity. Effective art necessitates a dialectical ambiguity which clashes with the straightforward aesthetical-functional realm of craft. But can this clash be in itself the dialectical ambiguity necessitated by art? Can the tension between the philosophical framework (in this case dialectical) and the practical function result in an artifact which is both functional and ambiguous?
Function and utility imply an end; if the artifact is, in fact, functional, then it effectively conduces to that end. Could the craftsman not, then, create artifacts conducive to an end other than the typically economic or the domestic? Could an artisan create an object-artifact which conduces to subjective-dialectic ends? The creation of an item functional to the ends of dialectical ambiguity would be an irony in itself. The function becomes dialectical, which defies objective definition, which defies the notion of function.
This, however, brings us back to the initial problem. To term the item functional is either to redefine function or to combine disparate functions (dialectical, practical) into a form indistinguishable from an artifact born of traditional function.
For objective craft to become dialectical art, it needs something more - membership in a diverse corpus, accompanying philosophical text, association (full or partial) with pre-existant systems - it needs a context.
All meaning is in context, and no meaningful artifact can ever be entirely self-sufficient.