Design and crisis

The latest issue of German design magazine form. Courtesy form

The most recent issue of German design magazine form asked me: “What is design?” My answer opens up the issue – and is transcribed below, in English. Many thanks to the editors Anton Rahlwes and Nina Sieverding!

Design is mediation. It is the glue that connects and engages with other disciplines, bringing together people, objects, systems and ideas. Although it was born out of the industrial revolution, and shaped by that paradigm, it is increasingly and surely – especially in Western Europe and North American regions – moving towards and finding itself in a postindustrial reality. This has only been accelerated by the current spread of the coronavirus. In this context, the design discipline finds itself in an acute identity crisis and needs to reshape itself, claiming territories and ambitions that are bigger than the knowledge silos that we still cling on to. Design needs to overcome disciplinary silos; it needs to become inclusive and diverse, decentralize its mythologies and welcome voices and points of view that aren’t white, male, Western. It also doesn’t need to generate anything physical anymore; it should be able to move and travel, as light as ideas.