On Friday 12 of October, we went to the Design Museum to see the ‘ Designer, Maker, User’ exhibition. As we approached the museum I was astonished by the building design, it was really impressive, beautifully shaped. After a quick introduction we went to explore!
The first part of the exhibition reflects the quote ‘from the spoon to the city’ created by Italian architect Ernesto Rogers – everything that surrounds us has been designed in every scale; from simple things like cutlery to more complex like cars, computers or buildings.
What is the difference between art and design? Artists create their work to force people to think, inspire or simply to please the audience visually. Designers however, make products that are functional and help people in everyday life. Is it fair, to divide those functions? Can a good design be functional, provocative and touch our emotions? Can a design be considered art?
Do designers solve problem or do they create them?
Users are the customers, the audience that experiences various products. Can a designer, also be an user and how fine is the line between one and the other? Often, boundaries between designer and user get blurred during the process of collaboration in order to achieve the best product. The ‘User’ is a part of an exhibition that correlates the relationship between people and brands, indicating changes that came with design. Large corporations like Braun, Sony or Apple had big impacts on our lives and the ways we communicate today.
As customers, are we using products wisely or do we buy new products blindly?
‘Maker’ section explores the evaluation of manufacturing. The progression of technology and new materials changed the way of product making and led to the mass production of identical products in 19th and 20th century. Currently, we are experiencing another revolution in manufacturing with low cost fabrication tools and automated digital processes which give new and unlimited opportunities to makers, affecting industry and economy.
Does manufacturing harm the planet?
As a part of the exhibition, I saw the movie ‘The Problem of Design’ produced by Thomas Thwaites that places many questions around the design industry in a wider context. The pros and cons are highly contradictive. Designers think about themselves as problem solving individuals and without any doubt they help people every day. There was a strong example of how solar panels positively impacted people’s lives in Africa; it gives them electricity and access to new technologies. However, it occurs that the manufacturing industry has a big impact on the global warming, rising sea levels and contamination. According to Centre for Climate and Energy Solution up to 90+ percent of emissions are created from product use. On top of that we face a problem of contaminated oceans and excess of the plastic that has been disposed seems more than the Mother Earth can take. Simply, we buy, we use it (for a while) and we throw it away. Have a look at the video about the stuff by Annie Leonard, who explains more about relation between design and waste, and the actions that we must undertake in order to save the planet. We don’t have much time left, according to the newest reports released by the United Nation’s climate science we have only 12 years to make changes to global energy infrastructure to limit global warming to moderate levels.
‘The story of stuff ‘
The visit to the Design Museum left me with many questions in my head. I started my journey thinking about where designers take inspiration from and ended up contemplating about huge problem we face with the environment. I guess I went from ‘ from the spoon to the city’.
Free display Designer Maker User
Umair.I. (2018) We have just 12 years to limit devastating global warming.
Sunday times(2007) A climate of change: Manufacturing Must Rise to the Risks and Opportunities of Climate Change
‘The story of stuff’ Annie Leonard
Notes taken during the visit to the museum