Michael Cannell's recent New York Times article titled "Design Loves a Depression" — which Maxwell covered here earlier today — has inspired a heated rebuttal by the founder of Moss, Murray Moss, titled "Design Hates a Depression" on DesignObserver. So who's right and what should we really expect from this downturn? We think the whole thing is a tad more complex than either statement allows for but the core debate is one that transpires right here on AT nearly every week (or at least every time a Moss piece is posted): what constitutes "real" design...
Cannell's argument is that economic hard times drive designers to be more inventive problem solvers and refine their skill and focus. However he also takes a few shots at celebrity designers and those who produce furniture as art rather than production pieces. He says design would be better off if it is brought down "a notch or two." Enter Murray Moss.
Moss argues that without designers willing to pioneer new directions, real innovation cannot take place. The Campana Brothers' $80,000 stuffed animal chair might seem crazy but the core concept is that a chair can be made of found objects and not manufactured in a factory. Just maybe someone will see that chair and be inspired by the materials around him in a new way, leading to the creation of something original for himself. This is not that far from one of AT's own beliefs: Creating (this) home doesn't require large amounts of money or space. It requires inspiration, connection to resources and motivation to do something about it.
Ultimately, design is a huge spectrum of people working passionately at different capacities. Some design $10,000 chairs, some design $10 chairs. Some consider themselves artists and some engineers. Is either wrong if both have an audience? Are function and innovation mutually exclusive?
Read both articles and let us know how you feel...
Design Loves a Depression via The New York Times
Design Hates a Depression via DesignObserver