What I’ve Learned: Life stories and lessons from leading creatives

What I’ve Learned is out now. Based on the eponymous section in Frame magazine, the book sheds light into the chance encounters, key experiences and major concerns that shape the work and career of 28 leading creatives.

Prepare to be glued to the page as some of today’s most influential designers and architects share what inspires their work and excites them about the future of the discipline, technology, society and the world. While you are waiting for your copy, take a sneak peek into just a few of the inspiring lessons you can take away from this page turner:

On teaching

‘I tell architecture students to travel while they’re young – to experience historical architecture first hand.’ Tadao Ando

‘I have taught in art schools and noted that students often hear things like no, you can’t do this, it’s not correct, try another one. It wasn’t like that for me. I would make something and if I didn’t like it, I’d cut it up, sell it and make another one. I got better by practising.’ Tom Dixon

‘In my role as a teacher, I want to ask questions that will provoke and motivate my students to enter uncharted territory. I’m excited about hearing their answers.’ Alfredo Häberli. Photo Mirjam Kluka

On making mistakes

‘You always make mistakes. I’ve made plenty. Mistakes are there to be made. There’s no glory without mistakes. In every profession and in life.’ Jaime Hayon

Kengo Kuma. Photo Tada (Yukai)

‘I always learn from my past. I determine the lesson and incorporate it into my next project. Together, my works are a progression of finding mistakes and making improvements. […] But in the end, an architect needs to be hungry – to feel unsatisfied – in order to find motivation and move forward.’ Kengo Kuma

On understanding the user

‘The ultimate goal of design is to make the user happier. A designer needs to empathize with the broadest public possible, and that means travelling around, gaining a genuine understanding of different cultures and ways of living.’ Toshiyuki Kita

‘What matters is an object’s relation to its surroundings. Users look for atmospheric pleasure; an object’s user experience can win consumers’ hearts. That’s why my focus nowadays is more about rendering a certain atmosphere.’ Naoto Fukasawa

‘Design has to be for people. [...] Let’s get down to earth. People have to live with this stuff. That’s the thought that drives me and that will move this profession forward.’ Jaime Hayon

On sustainability

‘The biggest myth is that sustainability looks a certain way, and another is that it doesn’t require as much process, sophistication or capital investment. Thinking about a project with sustainability in mind depends on the market and the product. There’s not just one criterion that makes a product sustainable.’ Yves Béhar

‘Today’s architecture projects should be energy-efficient. They should not use more energy than they require. I’m talking about zero-energy buildings. As an old anarchist, I consider further discussion on sustainable architecture a worn-out mantra.’ Piero Lissoni

‘We can’t keep talking about sustainability and constantly produce more stuff. It is human nature to try to renew ourselves completely, but I want the things that we do to add something useful to the list.’ Ilse Crawford. Photo by Winter Vandenbrink

On the future of the industry

‘Cities are undergoing a kind of renaissance that is slowly permeating the field of building and architecture. It’s not just for trained people like engineers and technicians. It’s a field for everyone.’ Daniel Libeskind

‘There is a lot of confusion right now about what design is and what it needs to achieve. There is art design, interaction design and so forth. It’s important for “design” to be more than a word. Yes, design should be spread, but what makes it difficult is that there are no more filters, no more boundaries.’ Luca Nichetto

‘People think of good architecture as a visual spectacle at the end of a pilgrimage. For me, good architecture should be the building on the other side of your street; it should be the school where you drop off your kids; it should be the norm.’ David Chipperfield. Photo by Gene Glover

Other industry leaders featured in the 28 in-depth interviews in the book include Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu, Inga Sempé, Bernard Tschumi and Patricia Urquiola.

Get your copy of What I’ve Learned today.

Leaderboard: London Design Week
Leaderboard: London Design Week

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