Talk is not cheap: The Future Laboratory co-founder sparks designer debate

15.04.2010 Milan : Italy : Chris Sanderson

Milan – Chris Sanderson, co-founder of The Future Laboratory, curated a fascinating conversation at the Swarovski Crystal Palace yesterday.

Hosted by Nadja Swarovski, creative director at the Austrian crystal company, designers joining Sanderson included Tokyo-based Gwenaël Nicolas, chief design officer at Philips Rogier van der Heide, creator of the One Laptop per Child project Yves Béhar and Studio Job’s Job Smeets.

One of the most hotly debated topics was the role of designer.

‘Designers are the glue between things,’ said Yves Behar. ‘Whether tackling a technical problem, or trying to solve a social issue, what we [designers] bring is a different angle.’

Most of the panel agreed.

‘Designers are used to being creative, so solutions come quickly to them,’ said Nadja Swarovski.

As Smeets told LS:N Global in an interview earlier in the day, he did not agree with the idea of designer as problem solver.

‘Our work is a 3D diary,’ he told the audience at the Swarovski Crystal Palace.

Smeets also disagreed with another generally agreed assertion: that technology and science are increasingly important for designers. We will be posting more from the designers present in the next few days, including in-depth interviews with Behar and Nicolas.

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