Alice Rawsthorn – The New York Times design critic and author – will give the keynote for the 5th edition of Ninety Minutes of Frame, diving head first into design and its role in a continually changing society. Rawsthorn's publications including 'Hello World: Where Design Meets Life' and 'Designing Everyday Life', the publication for Ljubljana's biennial, BIO 50 are just two recent examples sharing her perspective of the role of design for people. Before the event tonight, Alice Rawsthorn gives some insight into how designer's can stay relevant within a shifting world:
Are established designs failing to provide for today's society? In what ways are they failing? Alice Rawsthorn: We are living at a turbulent time when our lives are changing at unprecedented speed and intensity. Design is one of the most powerful tools at our disposal to help us to ensure that those changes will make our lives better, not worse. Inevitably, designers need to prioritise different challenges at different times to be productive members of society. Among the most important challenges for design right now are helping us to make the most of advances in science and technology, and to live more sustainably, fairly and inclusively.
What can designers do to keep their ideas and products relevant over time? If designers wish to make a constructive contribution to society, they need to be aware of our changing needs and desires, and to rethink their work accordingly, just like everyone else.
Are there methods designers can employ before a product goes into production to keep their designs from losing their impact in the future? One of the most useful contributions designers can make to the future is to consider what will happen to their work once it is no longer needed, and to ensure that it can be disposed of responsibly.
Can a design rely on the name of its designer or brand to survive in an ever-changing society and consumer world? No, Consider Apple, which has faced fierce criticism in recent years for everything from skeumorphmania and misleading maps, to questionable employment and environmental practises. And rightly so. Any brand that sets itself up as an exemplar must justify doing so.
Should designers voluntarily revise their work? If designers see an opportunity to improve their work, by making it more efficient or sustainable, or by correcting faults, then, of course, they should revise it.
Hear Alice Rawsthorn speak more about this subject tonight at the Pakhuis de Zwijger, RSVP here. Details about the event and line-up are available on Ninety Minutes of Frame's website.
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Thursday 18 December 2014, 8pm
Pakhuis De Zwijger
Piet Heinkade 179, Amsterdam
English spoken, Admission free
Save the Date: The 6th edition of Ninety Minutes of Frame: Pigment Pioneers will take place on 19 February 2015.