Design That’s Guided By Voices

Design Voices,
a new e-book from Coolhunting contributor Anna Carnick and Print contributing editor Jeremy Lehrer, sets out to illustrate today’s design scene moment by consulting some of the world’s most iconic creators, among them Maarten Baas, Dror Benshetrit, Giulio Cappellini, Milton Glaser, Ross Lovegrove, Stefan Sagmeister, Massimo Vignelli, and Tokujin Yoshioka. The series of original interviews, gathered over the last two months of 2011, hones in on how the industry has changed, what these artists are working on now, and how each anticipates the future of the craft.

So what is design? “The word design is so mischievous because people don’t know what it means. And all it means is, basically, an intentional movement from one existing condition to a preferred one, and that definition can be applied to almost all human activities,” says Milton Glaser, the larger-than-life graphic designer behind, among other things, the I [Heart] New York logo. “So when people talk about design, they’re really talking about, technically, everything in the universe that has to do with intent.”

The designers share a reluctance about categorization, and a subversion of physical constraints. As Dutch designer Maarten Baas insists: “I don’t want to be in art or in design. I want to fade away from everything, and I want to move wherever I feel I need to move.” Israeli-born designer Dror Benshetrit explain a similar sentiment, in regards to a subversion of the structure of location. “Ten years from now, people are going to stop asking me how many people are working in my office. And people are going to stop asking me where I am based.” Ross Lovegrove, whose work includes everything from the Sony Walkman to the world’s first magnesium-framed chair for Bernhardt in 2001, takes the notion of anyplace a step further with an alternate physics: “I practice with my own laws of reduction, essentialism, lightness, fat-free economics, component reduction, material appropriation, and product ethics.”