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7 Unique Expert Perspectives on Design

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One of our greatest privileges at Dwell is discussing architecture and design with some of the most creative and innovative people in the world, here is a sampling of their thoughts on design.
  • 
  Designer Sebastian Wrong on affordable design:“Well, I think you can say, actually, I’ve had enough of ‘affordable design,’ which often translates into cheap consumer products that have a short lifespan, the type that you’ll just be prepared to chuck away after you’re sick and bored of them. In that case, you’d rather invest five times the amount of money into something which is going to be there for a long time, and you’ll actually give to your kids, and you’ll feel passionate about, so you have something that lasts, and means something.It’s a view reflected by many designers these days. People are looking for more from their purchases, and wanton buyer-lust has given way to an expectation, almost prerequisite, that these pieces will be sustainable on a functional, as well as personal, level.Society and culture has got to change, really. This sort of disposable attitude about things being just for show, just for the look, and then underneath it’s just a load of garbage that’s going to fall apart and become more landfill. You can look at it either way, and say, there’s an enormous amount of work that goes into this to make it and produce it and that’s reflected in the price.”

    Designer Sebastian Wrong on affordable design:

    “Well, I think you can say, actually, I’ve had enough of ‘affordable design,’ which often translates into cheap consumer products that have a short lifespan, the type that you’ll just be prepared to chuck away after you’re sick and bored of them. In that case, you’d rather invest five times the amount of money into something which is going to be there for a long time, and you’ll actually give to your kids, and you’ll feel passionate about, so you have something that lasts, and means something.

    It’s a view reflected by many designers these days. People are looking for more from their purchases, and wanton buyer-lust has given way to an expectation, almost prerequisite, that these pieces will be sustainable on a functional, as well as personal, level.

    Society and culture has got to change, really. This sort of disposable attitude about things being just for show, just for the look, and then underneath it’s just a load of garbage that’s going to fall apart and become more landfill. You can look at it either way, and say, there’s an enormous amount of work that goes into this to make it and produce it and that’s reflected in the price.”

  • 
  Japanese architect Shigeru Ban on prefab versus custom building:“My system is just one of many. In Japan, our craftsmanship still remains [strong]. I don’t think that kind of architecture will ever die here. But those [houses] are not affordable for the general public. We need affordable housing, not only for Japan but also for developing countries.”  Courtesy of: Michael Gillette

    Japanese architect Shigeru Ban on prefab versus custom building:

    “My system is just one of many. In Japan, our craftsmanship still remains [strong]. I don’t think that kind of architecture will ever die here. But those [houses] are not affordable for the general public. We need affordable housing, not only for Japan but also for developing countries.”

    Courtesy of: Michael Gillette

  • 
  Landscape designer Margie Ruddick on her design philosophy:“There are so many ways to approach design. I think my philosophy might be that you approach each project as you would approach raising a child: not expecting it to be like any other; (mostly) respecting given rules and making up some of your own; making sure that there is substance and rigor but also joy.”

    Landscape designer Margie Ruddick on her design philosophy:

    “There are so many ways to approach design. I think my philosophy might be that you approach each project as you would approach raising a child: not expecting it to be like any other; (mostly) respecting given rules and making up some of your own; making sure that there is substance and rigor but also joy.”

  • 
  Photographer, stylist, and store owner Johanna Lowe on inspiring creativity:Well, a bowl doesn’t have to be used just like a bowl. For instance, a colander can be used to plant herbs or pansies in, or turned upside down into a light shade. A champagne coupe can be used for a chocolate mousse. I like the Magritte approach, "c'est n'est pas une pipe".

    Photographer, stylist, and store owner Johanna Lowe on inspiring creativity:

    Well, a bowl doesn’t have to be used just like a bowl. For instance, a colander can be used to plant herbs or pansies in, or turned upside down into a light shade. A champagne coupe can be used for a chocolate mousse. I like the Magritte approach, "c'est n'est pas une pipe".

  • 
  Marimekko designer Erja Hirvi on Finnish Design:The purity and functionality reflect the modest nature of Finnish people. Our design icons are not fancy or unnecessary. And there are a lot of reflections from nature and the way of living with nature.Marimekko is inspired by nature, but it is also a bit one-of-a-kind. Marimekko brings Finland’s location between east and west together beautifully into the prints

    Marimekko designer Erja Hirvi on Finnish Design:

    The purity and functionality reflect the modest nature of Finnish people. Our design icons are not fancy or unnecessary. And there are a lot of reflections from nature and the way of living with nature.Marimekko is inspired by nature, but it is also a bit one-of-a-kind. Marimekko brings Finland’s location between east and west together beautifully into the prints

  • 
  Pakistan’s First Female Architect Yasmeen Lari, on philanthropy in design:“In a country such as Pakistan, no sensitive person can remain oblivious to the needs of the vast majority that is deprived of even basic necessities. But we have to be careful not to present handouts to people, but to develop their own capabilities so that they could rise above adversity. An architect is well trained to be able to respond to design challenges—to build economically but at the same time provide comfortable and appropriate structures that fulfill the needs of the disadvantaged communities. I think one has to tackle the issues with a great deal of humility—no prima donna attitude will work here—so that one is able to also learn from the centuries old wisdom that is found in traditional methodologies.I often tell my colleagues: Let us not treat the disaster-affected households as destitute needing handouts; let us give them due respect, and treat them as we would a corporate sector client. If we can encourage that elusive element of pride among traumatized, shelterless families, half the battle would be won, for they would soon be on the road to self reliance. There are many ways to foster pride in a community, but among the most effective are through well designed shelters and community.” 

    Pakistan’s First Female Architect Yasmeen Lari, on philanthropy in design:

    “In a country such as Pakistan, no sensitive person can remain oblivious to the needs of the vast majority that is deprived of even basic necessities. But we have to be careful not to present handouts to people, but to develop their own capabilities so that they could rise above adversity. An architect is well trained to be able to respond to design challenges—to build economically but at the same time provide comfortable and appropriate structures that fulfill the needs of the disadvantaged communities. I think one has to tackle the issues with a great deal of humility—no prima donna attitude will work here—so that one is able to also learn from the centuries old wisdom that is found in traditional methodologies.

    I often tell my colleagues: Let us not treat the disaster-affected households as destitute needing handouts; let us give them due respect, and treat them as we would a corporate sector client. If we can encourage that elusive element of pride among traumatized, shelterless families, half the battle would be won, for they would soon be on the road to self reliance. There are many ways to foster pride in a community, but among the most effective are through well designed shelters and community.” 
  • 
  Coyuchi Design Director Laura Jo Wegman on what she finds inspiring: A simple, humble, utilitarian object that has really, really great attention to detail.When you touch something that was conceived to be used and touched and adored—and it just feels completely amazing.Taking an old idea and using it in a new way so that it feels new and unexpected.Amazing color.  

    Coyuchi Design Director Laura Jo Wegman on what she finds inspiring: 

    A simple, humble, utilitarian object that has really, really great attention to detail.

    When you touch something that was conceived to be used and touched and adored—and it just feels completely amazing.

    Taking an old idea and using it in a new way so that it feels new and unexpected.

    Amazing color.
     

     

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