Tuesday, April 01, 2008

The Death of Design by Phillippe Starck

It may sound a little mellow dramatic for a well known French product designer to utter the words "design is dead", but it is not the first time I have heard the sentiment.

Larry Kelley, professor at the Institute of Design uttered the same phase in 2001 during my design planning class. Yes it puzzled me, especially because this was news to me having had returned to school at great expense to study the very profession that I was being told was in its last throws.

What I have come to understand about these pronouncements is that they are true to an extent. The profession of design is shifting as is most things due to the far reach influences of technology and the rapid pace of globalization, just to name two factors. So Starck being the old school form focused product design, now looks at his creations as stuff that is ripe for landfills, is underestimating the value creating potential that design still offer the world.

Design's contribution in the 21st century is less about the shape of a physical product but how it contributes to shaping the life experiences of users. Lifestyle products like the proposed iFitness system (digital product)Apple is said to be developing is the new front of design. So in that regard Starck is missing the forest because he is focused on the trees.

Article on Starck

NYTimes Editoral

starck's Website

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