A blog about universal and accessible design

Friday, December 5, 2008

Depression Design?

Image: Fireside Chair No. 1, 1943: sturdy wooden chair with cushioned back/seat from the Utility Programme. From Making the Modern World.

Does recession make for better design?
The Herald Trib says it might:
"But the main reason why design could benefit from this recession is because it always thrives on change, and every area of our lives is currently in flux. The economic crisis will not only transform finance and business, but the way we think and behave. Then there's the environmental crisis, and the realization that most of the institutions and systems that regulated our lives in the 20th century need to be reconfigured for the 21st century."

The article focuses on the design of information and organizations to improve transparency; but also suggests the possibility of design contributing to new business models, e.g. the car/bike sharing schemes that are popping up throughout Europe and the US.

It strikes me that for a long time the argument has been that things like environmental benefits in design have to be made desirable and marketable based on a boom-time logic-- an argument backed up in recent years with things like megamansions w/ solar panels, movie stars in Priuses and "sustainable" materials in high-end fashion and interiors. I wonder what a bust-time alternative would be like-- something like Utility furniture, where government partnered with designers to produce affordable, well-designed furnishings for post-war British households. Design is more than a luxury...

No comments: