How do you define contemporary design?

Design by definition is about concepts that are contemporary. So, in fact, saying “contemporary design” is redundant. If the design is a reflection of the past or using nostalgic language, then in fact I do not call that design. I would consider that “style.” Remember that styling and designing are very different things.

Contemporary design today is about form, material, language and color that reflect our milieu, the information age and our digital, eclectic landscape. New forms, new language, new behaviors all contribute to new style that shapes today’s multisensorial landscape.

One thing we designers have to ask ourselves as professionals is whether we just produce more goods, or do we really have something to contribute? Contribution does not necessarily have to be a technological innovation. It could be a more poetic innovation. By poetic I mean a more human or humanized innovation. We’ve heard a lot of talk about minimalistic design in the last several years, but I think we’ve taken it about as far as we can. I’m a believer in “more is more,” and I want to continue pouring energy into various endeavors and making products more beautiful and decorative and stimulating people. True industrial design is of a scale that has strong appeal such that it can create a market. It’s not just design for design’s sake, but design to shift and evolve humankind.

In the future, designers and artists will become cultural editors or cultural engineers and “business strategists of culture.” The design trend will be addition by subtracting. Fewer but better objects edit the marketplace. Design will be based on offering corporations originality and ideas that deal with contemporary issues and phenomena and culturally relevant proposals. Today there few ideas and many variations. “Me-too” –ism as a business strategy is over. Businesses must differentiate themselves and innovate. Design and production will play critical roles in leading companies into new directions and new opportunities. A designer will be a cultural purveyor, developing products that people want to elevate experiences, developing proposals that actually really change our lives and bring a heightened and more enjoyable experience to life.

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