That said, we believe that many designers and companies are too busy following trends and desperately seeking new stylistic languages. Don't get us wrong, we have nothing against the exploration of new aesthetic paths and we do get as excited as everyone does when a product hits our deepest senses, but we are convinced that there should always be an ethic, intelligent and functional support to all that: beautiful yes, but with substance please.
So we asked ourselves what design does not need to be, here are the answers we gave to ourselves (with a little help from you, our dear readers).
We have noticed in the past years an increasing number of products that have no founding idea: they weren't born after the exploration of a certain material or technology, they don't solve a problem in a new innovative way, they don't respond to particular needs and sometimes even hardly perform their primary function. These objects exist because they follow a particular decorative trend.
As we see it, Product Design should not be a seasonal thing, just as much as intelligence isn't. Products have to be useful, comfortable, ethical, and beautiful; they respond to a long list of requirements and constraints coming from both users and producers and it takes so much in terms of thinking, energy, money and resources to produce objects that they shouldn't by any reason be considered with the trivial logics of fashion.
Dieter Rams used to say good design should be timeless, and we so much agree with him.
...a predefined stylistic language.We are deeply convinced that designers and companies should constantly seek for new aesthetic and expression languages, we want them to challenge our sensibility and push the borders of conventions; but we'd like that to happen for a reason. Or to put it in simple words, should a lamp; a pair of shoes and a water tab all have the same shape?
Design is innovation in all senses, is not a fixed formula of curves, shapes, colours and proportions that can be proposed over an over because is the recognizable "signature" of any given designer.
We don't want to sound extremists here; we accept and appreciate the fact that every designer imprints to the objects he designs his very own personality; the challenge is not letting that personal style overtake the object itself. The risk is having the own portfolio become a bunch of trivial commonplaces.
Many so-called "design" products happen to be more a piece of art than respond to the rational logics of industrial manufacturing and functional living. This doesn't mean that objects need to be reproduced thousands of times to be considered products, what we mean here is that we should not confuse artistic expressions applied to objects or decorative arts with design.
A product, even if manufactured as a one-off or in limited series, respond to functional, rational, productive and ethical logics that go far beyond the single act of self-expression. The aesthetics of a product should be the consequent result of the product's ability to solve a problem and perform a determinate function, not the reason for it to exist.