Question: What makes good design?

Paula Antonelli answers the question: What makes good design?

Antonelli: You know what makes good design is one of the biggest questions and one of the hardest questions to answer. Sometimes people ask us, “How do you decide to put an object in the collection of MOMA?” because you know it’s a small collection. It’s not huge. It’s about 4,000 objects. You can talk about anything you want – form, function, all of these different equations that have been usually . . . you know that have been given the world as possible definitions. But the truth is this. It’s a very complex recipe. The world has become more complex, and you can’t anymore have an equation with just two variables. There’s like, you know, it’s a differential equation with many variables. What I can tell you as one of the litmus tests is think if this object were not on earth. Would it be a pity? Would you miss it? I tell you that’s really interesting because it really helps. Sometimes objects are not immediately functional. They’re not to be sat upon, or to be used to eat, or to be used to turn on the volume. Sometimes objects just deliver emotions or are just part of your life. That’s also enough. You know the moment an object seems necessary, then you can move on to judge if it’s beautiful, if it works well, if it wastes energy. Those are all considerations. But the idea of necessity or good addition to the world really usually works.

4 Comments leave a comment below

  1. We are al organic, our emotions are our emotions even they might induce the same excitement to others. We are subjective beings. We as designers are not so different from mechanics or chefs, we create, we struggle and some get paid at the end of a project.
    :)
    The only jury to the work we do is ourselves. So what makes a good design is a personal question. With the answer we can agree or not. And that is the beauty of it. Otherwise we would not have so many designs, concepts or products.
    Each of us is a little creator and we contribute in our way to what is made. What we like or dislike is what we can say. To define, is a bit too much, because we are organic and our emotions are our emotions … and each and every one of us will use a spoon in its own way.

  2. I have to agree with Paula Antonelli

  3. MoMa is a huge collection because can not decide if only one object is having all the qualities, functions an object can have, therefore, it might sound crazy, but confirms what i did wrote earlier today and also what Paula Antonelli mentioned, too many variables to consider when we judge an object, piece of music , film or fine art. So, in theory, good design is a general term and a collection is based on subjective choices.
    MoMa is a treasure for the future generations and I hope someday I will have the honor to be part of it.
    I hope i do not sound too crazy.
    :)

  4. Hello

    This concept of “would the world really miss it?” reminds me of the amazing:

    http://www.searchfortheobvious.com

    I agree completely with Paula!

    From another Swiss Miss, in London

    Pascale Scheurer RIBA FRSA
    Director, Surface to Air Architects

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