John Maeda wears a lot of hats: graphic designer, computer scientist, mathematician, sneaker designer, university professor, author, and now President of Rhode Island School of Design. His work on the intersection of technology and design landed him on Esquire‘s list of the 21 most important people in the 21st century. In this episode of Dezeen Magazine’s Design Miami Chat Shows, the endlessly-interesting Maeda presents his “design life in five photos.”
Here’s the recap:
Taken when he curated Ars Electronica in Austria. He was walking along the water and saw this lone blooming bush and wondered why. “I think a lot of what I do is just wonder ‘why?’” Our society is so exact, he says, he’s curious about the “roughness of life.”
His dirty teacup. After reading the tea leaves, it told him to “look for circles.” He now has a collection of photos picturing circles of liquid. Maeda loves looking for patterns in everything.
That was in Italy; he went to get coffee in Milan with his daughters. Demonstrated how regular (non-designer) people can also create beautiful things.
His avatar in Second Life, where he bought an island for $2,000. He didn’t have any time to spend there, though, and gave it away. In the end, it reaffirmed his love of the “real world.”
A piece he made for a charity auction at Colette in Paris. He made it on a day that someone was yelling at him. “The only way to survive difficulty is by having a thicker skin,” he said. This is his riff on that idea– thicker skins written 75 times.