Inhabitat: It seems in some way that this exhibit is sort of showcasing how design is moving away from designing objects and moving more and more into designing experiences. What kind of impact do you think this has on the world we live in and the element of sustainability?
Paola Antonelli: We have been living in more than one world for quite a while. Design has not been only our furniture or our cars, but also it’s been the interfaces of the websites that we live in, the interface of our email program. What’s happening right now is that the virtual world is only one of the possible extensions of traditional design. A formal design that is relatively new – it’s old but new – is critical design. Critical design is about commenting on the possible consequences of technology, even dystopian ones. And there’s a lot of examples of that in the exhibition because since these designers focus on crucial issues, they also focus a lot on communication.
All in all, I think that what we’re seeing today is designers becoming much more economical and sustainable – also about their own careers. It’s not possible anymore to build objects that people will throw away in just a short amount of time, because people think that one of the possible ways to be sustainable is to have a washing machine that lasts 15 years instead of three. So that’s one way to go. What happens there is that it means fewer appliances and fewer design opportunities for traditional forms of design. But there’s a whole world that is on the web. It’s a whole world that is about behaviors. There’s a whole world that is about interactions. There is this amazing infiltration of design in all the facets of our lives that goes well beyond the traditional furniture products and cars. I’m so happy about it because, as you’ve said, this is truly the moment to not only study, but also validate this form of design and give it some benchmarks by doing collective shows like this.
Video by Phelps Harmon