Last Words, Take Two

We put the same six questions to everyone we talked to for the Now 99 issue to learn what they’re reading, rethinking, and totally sick of. We ran a few responses as the Finishing Touch in the print edition, but the designers we talked to had loads more penetrating, funny, and strange responses than could fit on the page. Read on for a glimpse of the ideas that are shaping the next wave of design. 

Robert Andrew Highsmith and Stefanie Highsmith of Workstead

Workstead, photo by Matthew Williams

What design gimmick are you over?

"Vintage." This word has become a descriptor for anything and everything these days that has some industrial spirit or patina. I think to us, especially with our work, we strive to have a modern edge to some of the more time-tested materials that we use, to create something that can really last independent of a current trend. "Vintage" today is almost the opposite thing, when you have a situation where the intent is to take something new and make it "look" old.—Robert Andrew Highsmith and Stefanie Highsmith, Workstead

Who most influenced your design trajectory?

It’s between Alvar Aalto and my parents, who put tools in our hands when we were young and taught us that there was no right or wrong in what we make. —Jeremy Barbour, architect at Tacklebox

Mitchell Joachim

Mitchell Joachim, photo by Dorothy Hong

What was the first formative design object you experienced?

The lightsaber. I was thinking about a future where a company like Dewalt was producing lightsabers for the construction world. You could go up to a rock or a bunch of dirt and carve out your dwelling that way. Mitchell Joachim, founder of Terreform

What design gimmick are you over?

Kitchen gadgets. I recently saw a prawn peeler and a mango deseeder here in Australia. If you cannot get at these two foods with anything more than your hands and a knife, you don’t deserve to eat them. Henry Wilson

Architect and designer Stanley Saitowitz

Stanley Saitowitz, photo by Robyn Twomey

What material are you most excited about right this very instant?

Glass. It may not be new, but the possibilities of an almost invisible material remain endless. Stanley Saitowitz, founder of Natoma Architects, Inc.

What are you reading now?

The Baron in the Trees by Italo Calvino. A young boy leaves the dinner table in a huff, climbs an oak, and spends the rest of his life among the trees, never setting foot on the ground again. How’s that for green living? —Tom Givone, founder of Givone Home

What design gimmick are you over?

The banal notion of a design hotel, as though design were some sort of optional extra. I really resent the notion of cashed-up corporates investing in tasteless design garbage. Good hotels, whether they’re a small B&B or a large business hotel, ought to have a shelf life of ten years or more to morally justify the outlay in materials and infrastructure. —Dennis Paphitis, founder of Aesop

What was the first formative design object you experienced?

When I was young, my parents had two bright green plastic chairs. They were so much fun to climb over, sit upside-down on, and roll marbles across (around the seat, out the leg holes, and down the leg). I always liked them, and now I know they were Vico Magistretti's Gaudi chairs. Max Lipsey

What existing object are you most anxious to redesign?

A street lamp combined with an exercise machine to convert human energy to electrical power. —Decha Archjananun, THINKK Studio

What design gimmick are you over?

Nothing really. Maybe high prices. Desk lamps too.Renée Rossouw

German designer Pia Wüstenberg

Pia Wustenberg

What are you reading now?

I recently finished The Bad Girl by Mario Vargas Llosa, the most touching love story I have ever read.   Pia Wustenberg

What existing object are you most anxious to redesign?

The classic gentlemen hall stand, the one where you could hang your jacket and trousers and which has small compartments for your keys and coins. I'll start it right now. Søren Rose, founder of Søren Rose Studio

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