What is Design? Note on Herbert Muschamp

This is from 2013:

The late New York Times architecture critic Herbert Muschamp wrote this piece just near the apex of the dotcom boom. It’s a critique of a variety of trends in design that Muschamp saw emerging during that era:

  • Apple’s emergence as an over-expressive designer of the computer chassis
  • Designer Bruce Mau’s then rule of the space of book design as a form of art
  • Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas’ myriad of unconventional approaches to spaces to live in

Muschamp has some great lines about design here:

  • “This is not the first time design has embodied that myth (of progress).”
  • “[Design is used as] a graphic device that conveys the conflicting desire to conceal and reveal.”
  • “The desire to overlook the ugly is a major factor behind the present infatuation with the design medium as a whole.”
  • “… Like any authority, the design phenomenon derives its power from denial. It persuades people to leave unpleasant things out of the picture.”