Design is more than aesthetics and beauty

This really resonates with me:

from Longitudinal Slum

wallpaper* Not So Good For The City

Adam Greenfield lays out his vision of an urban utopia. Before assembling an urban kit-of-parts taken from the best that several cities have to offer, he writes an honest blurb that exemplifies why we shouldn’t be so quick to trust the design elite with our cities, or many of its institutions, big or small.

The first thing that might surprise folks who know me – unless they’ve been paying very close attention – is how little I trust high-end design and architecture to deliver enduringly congenial urban environments; long, sad experience with the kind of hotels, shops, restaurants, bars and clubs you so often see gleaming from the pages of wallpaper* and its ilk has convinced me that, however beautiful they may be, such locales are all too often the province of fabulous wannabes and overprivileged douchelords.

This telling view exemplifies my own disillusionment with design strictly grounded in aesthetics and beauty. Moving to Manhattan from design-starved Nebraska six years ago, I was in heaven, suddenly surrounded with access to high-design in a multitude of scales. Within a couple of years it was clear to me that this level of design either (in many instances) didn’t contribute to the urban fabric, and was geared to the ‘overprivileged douchelords’ Adam refers to.

(Follow the link if you don’t know what wallpaper* is)


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