My relationship with art is complicated. I always had an issue understanding and hence appreciating unquantifiable matters: say, an expressionist painting or a sculpture made of street garbage. I’m very reluctant to give an opinion about a piece of art — however powerful, amusing or touching it may appear. Design, though, is a different story. The design of, say, a chair is generally structured: from what purpose it should serve to what feelings it should trigger, to how much it should cost to produce. A designer is an engineer who with a strong focus and due experimentation sets to create an intentionally delightful object — in form and function. An artist, a free bird, may have no intention behind their work or the only intention on their mind is to spark a public discussion.
What if the distinction between artist and designer is removed? Then, we’ll end up with a collection of pieces that neither solve a design problem, nor spark a discussion.
At the start of New York Design Week, I stopped by at the Collective Design fair — a secluded playground for designers who want to be artists.