DESIGN & ART: Paradigms Part 2

Louise Schouwenberg
A conversation with Hella Jongerius that might have taken place. // 2003

This morning I woke up and made breakfast burritos for Fisk and I, and then I pulled him away from his design work to have a little conversation about Design&Art.

Natalie: I liked this conversation because it immediately set up the relationship between what it means to be an artist, Louise Schouwenberg, vs what it means to be a designer, Hella Jongerius.

Fisk: Schouwenberg felt to be a little pompous, like he was trying to bait the designer, to admit that he was acting like an artist.

N: Yeah, I don’t quite understand why having a single title is so important. Everyone has multiple jobs, but I don’t know why they are fretting over calling themselves one defining thing. Jongerius says “Designers always flirt with art”, is this something you agree with?

F: I don’t like the overarching definition that all designers flirt with art, it’s not necessarily true. I think and artist can be a designer, and a designer can be an artist.

N: Yea, that seems to be one of the consistent themes in this book, that the terms for an artist are open and free and the artist has to decide what those terms are, and then, act like a designer in order to achieve their own goal. For a designer the process is reversed, the terms are set up initially, and then you mentioned, that it’s after that initial problem is solved, that a designer will use similar strategies to that of an artist in order to accomplish certain visual needs.

F: Yes, Jongerius said that designers have to commit and be responsible.

N: I like to think that designers are more responsible than artists.

F: Yea I think they are, again it has to do with the process of design vs. the free range an artist has.

N: Another thing I liked about this essay was that it gave us descriptions of visuals we could imagine while reading, which is nice because there aren’t any images in this book at all.

F: Yes, as a design and art book, with no images, I find it ridiculous.

N: I’m used to having no images with this series, but lets Google these embroidered cups Jongerius and Schouwenberg talk about. These have no function at all, I would definitely categorize this as art.

F: Yes, I agree. The example of the scale of mass production that design has vs art production was good. Jongerius states, “I’m happiest when the design works well in all respects.  If, on top of that, it's also suitable for mass production, it’s a real kick. I like the industrial process; art can’t compete with the scale industry works on.”

N: That is a good point. I think there is probably a large percentage of artists who would argue that we’re not trying to compete, that we don’t want to be included in mass production nor consumption. Let’s look at Droog Design.

F: Those are fucking rad cognac glasses

N: But how to they sit?

F: Just like that. I think Design Within Reach sells better products.

N: Yea, this is really great bed. Simple, and you can sweep under it.

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