Foglio's Field Notes

Leif Utne's random rants, musings and meditations

NYT: Design Loves a Depression

with one comment

This hopeful piece from yesterday’s NYT, Michael Cannell argues that, just as the Great Depression begat early modernism and democratized beautiful design, the current economic downtown could usher in a new golden age of democratic, functional — even green — design.

Design tends to thrive in hard times. In the scarcity of the 1940s, Charles and Ray Eames produced furniture and other products of enduring appeal from cheap materials like plastic, resin and plywood, and Italian design flowered in the aftermath of World War II.

Will today’s designers rise to the occasion? “What designers do really well is work within constraints, work with what they have,” said Paola Antonelli, senior curator of architecture and design at the Museum of Modern Art. “This might be the time when designers can really do their job, and do it in a humanistic spirit.”

In the lean years ahead, “there will be less design, but much better design,” Ms. Antonelli predicted.

Let’s hope Cannell’s right.

Sidenote: Is Dwell really “old paradigm” like Architectural Digest, as Cannell suggests? My old Worldchanging colleague Sarah Rich might beg to differ.

Written by leifutne

January 5, 2009 at 3:11 pm

One Response

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