Sunday, January 4, 2009

Design Will Flourish in Poor Economy

Design thrived in the past economic boom but will also help us work our way out of the current economic disaster. The American Institute of Architects reported that the year-end construction billings index, a gauge of nonresidential construction, reached its lowest level since it began collecting data in 1995 but design tends to thrive in hard times.

“What designers do really well is work within constraints, work with what they have,” said Paola Antonelli, (right) senior curator of architecture and design at the Museum of Modern Art. “This might be the time when designers can really do their job, and do it in a humanistic spirit.”

In the lean years ahead, “there will be less design, but much better design,” Ms. Antonelli predicted.

Michael Cannell, writing for the New York Times, hopes that designers will focus their attention on improving infrastructure, housing, city planning, transit and energy. Designers are good at coming up with new ways of looking at complex problems, and with President-elect Barack Obama's proposed economic stimulus plans we could see one of the most productive periods of design in history.

Ideas already in the popular vision include things like open-source design, and cradle-to-cradle design developed by William McDonough and Michael Braungart that calls for cars, packaging and other everyday objects to be designed specifically for recycling so that their parts and materials are used and reused without waste.

Click on the heading above to see Cannell's full article in the New York Times.

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