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Starck: Design Is Dead, Sorry

AFP points us to an article in Die Zeit where Philippe Starck apparently apologizes for the waste his design career has caused. Reportedly he says: &...

Piers Fawkes, PSFK
Piers Fawkes, PSFK on March 28, 2008. @piers_fawkes

AFP points us to an article in Die Zeit where Philippe Starck apparently apologizes for the waste his design career has caused. Reportedly he says:

“I was a producer of materiality and I am ashamed of this fact. Everything I designed was unnecessary. I will definitely give up in two years’ time. I want to do something else, but I don’t know what yet. I want to find a new way of expressing myself …design is a dreadful form of expression…. In future there will be no more designers. The designers of the future will be the personal coach, the gym trainer, the diet consultant.”

AFP also reports that the article says:

Starck said the only objects that he still felt attached to were “a pillow perhaps and a good mattress.” But the thing one needs most, he added, was the “ability to love”.

It’s an interesting follow up to this story by Bruce Nussbaum in Business Week where he reacts to an earlier comment from Starck on the coming backlash against design. In it Bruce commented:

The backlash against design is, in part, a backlash against the arrogance of designers and their separation from the real lives of people. Many live in a tiny sliver of a world of luxury and design for it. That’s OK by me. But please, don’t rationalize that Mr. Starck, by saying that barbarism is dead and “luxury” defines our lives. It just erodes the eroding credibility of many designers.

In the comments, Johnny Vulkan responds to Bruce and says:

My interpretation was that he had an epiphany about his role and in fact he was suggesting that while luxury may in some cases define our lives, this was actually a sorry state of affairs and he was in part to blame.

I think he was also suggesting that as a society we must begin to focus our talents on the longer term issues that we collectively face and while there was maybe nothing particularly wrong with designing beautiful objects this was no longer the most worthwhile focus.

Is Design Dead? Is Design Evil?? Wow. I bet folks at companies like Unilever who have tried to ‘meld design into their DNA’ are having a right old panic attack now as to what to do next.

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[Thanks to Marc for tip]

Thinking...