好的設計意味著少,做更好的設計。時代雜誌/迪耶‧薩德奇/倫敦設計博物館館長


建築設計、方法、創意、概念、評論。

好的設計意味著少,做更好的設計。時代雜誌/迪耶‧薩德奇/倫敦設計博物館館長

文章 » 2010 3月 21 (週日) 11:27 am



贊助商連結

The Times March 18, 2010 by Deyan Sudjic

好的設計意味著少,做更好的設計。時代雜誌/迪耶‧薩德奇/倫敦設計博物館館長
博物院院長闡述他的觀點,設計在消費主義與可持續發展中的作用

http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/ ... 065791.ece

Good design means making less and doing it better
The director of the Design Museum airs his views on the role of design in consumerism and sustainability

 為什麼愈簡單的設計反而顯得愈奢侈?
  大量生產的蘋果電腦,為什麼像是為個人量身訂做的?
  史塔克最精采的設計作品不是外星人榨汁機?
  不標榜設計師的無印良品,卻讓我們記得深澤直人的產品?

作者簡介
迪耶.薩德奇(Deyan Sudjic)
  南斯拉夫裔的迪耶.薩德奇出生於倫敦,畢業於愛丁堡大學建築系,為知名建築藝術評論家。多年來致力於研究人與建築的關係,經常為Sunday Times、《衛報》、《觀察家》撰稿,也在許多重量級的國際藝術建築期刊上發表論著。他創辦《藍圖》(Blueprint),也擔任過Domus的編輯。除了建築主題的寫作、編務,他還投入教學和策展,包括擔任倫敦金斯頓大學(Kingston University)藝術、設計和建築系的主任,策展經歷包括:英國城市建築設計與英國城市建築展、2002年威尼斯建築藝術雙年展等。


It’s a lifetime since the American prophet of advertising Earnest Elmo Calkins wrote in 1932: “Goods fall into two classes: those that we use, such as motor cars and safety razors, and those that we use up, such as toothpaste or soda biscuits. Consumer engineering must see to it that we use up the kind of goods we now merely use.”
I especially like that “merely”. He was offering what he saw as a way out of the hungry 1930s that, to judge by last year’s car scrappage scheme, governments everywhere are still eager to follow. If only people would buy more, there would be more jobs for the people that make the stuff. It seems that, even as we search for a sustainable future, it is our duty to consume.

Calkins wasn’t just talking about offering consumers money to go and buy. He wanted to put design to work; to make everyday things look more desirable; to trigger the acquisitive gene; to persuade us that we just had to have the newest vacuum cleaner, the latest car, the sleekest radiogram. And he wanted to repeat the trick every year, which, of course, depended not just on making the new look irresistable but on ensuring that the not-so-new looks embarrassing. Designers are still doing it with mobile phones, laptops and digital cameras.

Design, when it is used to engineer desire, is about how things look and also about how they feel. It is about the momentary sensation of power that comes from pressing the shiny button on top of a radio or turning the handle of one of those fancy new Gestetner duplicating machines that were the iBook of their day, shorthand for early adopter.

Calkins had learnt from Raymond Loewy, the designer who claimed to have streamlined the sales curve when he switched the colour of the Lucky Strike pack from green to white and when he wrapped the Gestetner inside what looked like an Art Deco juke-box.

And yet, as we all know, we can’t go on doing this kind of thing. In conspicuous consumption, we have created a black hole. Society’s apparently unstoppable addiction to glossy shopping bags will see all the Earth’s resources sucked into making meaningless objects that end up as grey sludge in landfill. We are a generation suffering sensory overload from the mountain of stuff that we are expected to consume.

We have an entirely different relationship with our possessions, which no longer grow old gracefully; we discard them. I buy a new laptop every 18 months; my father gave me the manual typewriter that he bought to take with him to the Nuremberg war trials as a young journalist. The average life of a mobile phone is measured in months — half a century ago a phone lasted 20 years and was rented from the Government. A digital camera has a product development cycle of less than two years.

Just as design has always been about manufacturing desire, it has also always attracted those whose world view has a tinge of moral superiority. William Morris, as his biographer Fiona MacCarthy tells us, was precocious enough at 17, when taken by his mother to the Great Exhibition, to refuse to set foot inside, so convinced was he that he would find nothing but meretricious machine-made junk. There was a lingering flavour of that moral certainty in the early days of the Design Council, established in the spirit of Lord Reith by the enlightened to inflict good design on those who knew no better. And it was there in the moral rightness of Modernism, the belief that if only form followed function, the result would be useful, beautiful and above all honest.

No profession is more schizophrenic than design. It is simultaneously the pursuit of a new generation of snake-oil salesmen, in the footsteps of Loewy, or for that matter, of Philippe Starck, and of messianic utopians, determined that they can save the planet. Often they are trying to do both at the same time.

Once there was a belief that if only an object or a building followed its functional brief, all would be well. The issue of sustainability is now used to provide the same justification. If it’s recyclable, solar-powered, and sourced from sustainable timber it must be good design.

The truth must be in a more sophisticated understanding of the nature of design. In Sustainable Futures, an exhibition at the Design Museum that brings together a number of projects, from Puma’s innovative approach to packaging by Yves Behar to Norman Foster’s attempt at a carbon-neutral city in Abu Dhabi, we are looking at those issues.

Some designers, such as Dieter Rams, attempt to derail the treadmill of built-in obsolescence by removing every trace of the ego from their work, to produce as Rams puts it, “less but better”. Others do their best to recycle, to use sustainable sources, to ensure that they do not use paint that will poison the soil or batteries that will leak into the food chain or, perhaps more quixotically, to make glasses from recycled bottles.

We also need to know more about the impact of our changed relationship with our possessions. Certainly we have more, and we change them faster. What we do not yet know is how to measure their real impact on the environment. There is something shocking about a mobile phone that you discard so often, and even more shocking about the number of useless chargers that you accumulate, as each generation of new phone is designed not only not to work with products from rival manufacturers but with previous generations of products by the same manufacturer.

Yet if that phone is also a tape recorder, a calculator, a camera, a desk diary, a radio, a book and a GPS system, it could also be argued that it is making dramatic strides toward reducing our consumption of everything. No need for photographic paper or the silver used in photographic film; it does away with the vinyl for traditional discs and with the packaging and freight costs — objects are lighter and lighter. And if we read all our books on screen, think of all that paper we aren’t using — and all the shops that we are dispensing with. We might perhaps finally be in sight of the guilt-free disposability that the Pop Artists celebrated at the dawn of the 1960s.

The trouble is that we really don’t know how to make effective comparisons, just as we can’t really be sure whether we are doing less damage to the environment by keeping that 20-year-old VW Polo on the road than by buying a brand new model. It’s true that the new one will have better fuel efficiency and emission, but it also involves all the energy used to build a new car.

There are other ways to create jobs than by buying more and more. Remembering that it is possible to fix things, rather than just discarding them, would help. And if we really must trade in products every few months, it’s essential to make reusing the raw materials more straightforward. Developing a more sceptical approach to Apple product launches wouldn’t hurt either.

Design almost sank without trace in the 1980s, in the grip of a wave of designer hotels and designer water. If it is going to survive now that the concept has been virtually trademarked by Steve Jobs, designers need to decide if they are simply in the business of helping to sell more stuff, or if they really are able to offer a more constructive contribution to the way that the world works. Smart design isn’t only about creating seductive objects, it is also about understanding how we respond to them. If designers are going to escape from oblivion, they need to put that skill to work to wean us from the addiction to the cult of novelty. Possessions are the way that we measure our lives. If they turn into disposable junk, that says something deeply disturbing about our values.

The real message from all this is that designers can hope to deal with sustainability only if they really act as designers — ask questions, check alternatives and use their brains — and not as missionaries or as salesmen.

Sustainable Futures is at the Design Museum, London SE1 (0870 8339955; designmuseum.org), from March 31

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