Hella Jongerius and Louise Schouwenberg have written a manifesto in which they plea for ideals in design and call upon designers to take the lead in a much-needed change of mentality.
The designer and design theorist criticise the obsession with the new for the sake of the new, and deplore how the discipline lacks an intimate interweaving of the values that once inspired designers, as well as the producers of their ideas: making the highest possible quality accessible to many people.
Titled "Beyond the New", the text is a summation of some of the ideas that Jongerius presented so coherently at Design Indaba Conference 2015. "There's too much shit design," she proclaimed, calling herself a "pastor, not a trader" of design. The designer is well known for her sustained investigation into timeless elements such as colour, driven not by trends but by their industrial applications.
“What most design events have in common are the presentations of a depressing cornucopia of pointless products, commercial hypes around presumed innovations, and empty rhetoric,” reads the manifesto.
The full text will be made public on Friday 10 April and a printed version, designed by Studio Joost Grootens, will be available at two locations during the Milan Design Week.
Jongerius and Schouwenberg make a number of points:
“It is absurd and arrogant to begin the design process with an empty piece of paper. Cultural and historical awareness are woven into the DNA of any worthwhile product.”
“Know the companies that share your moral and aesthetic values. Know the others too.”
“Count the blessings of industry. Industrial processes have greater potential than low-volume productions of exclusive designs, which reach such a limited market that talk of ‘users’ can hardly be taken seriously. Industries can make high-quality products available to many people. We should breathe new life into that ideal.”
The publication is supported by Design Academy Eindhoven, Design Indaba and Z33.
The full manifesto will be available at Z33 - Atelier Clerici (Palazzo Clerici, Via Clerici 5) and Design Academy Eindhoven's exhibition at Ventura Lambrate (corner Via G.Crespi and Via dei Canzi) in Milan from Tuesday 14 – Sunday 19 April 2015.