A while ago Mr Johan Valcke, a famous Flemish defender of design, asked me to
give a conference about ‘street fashion’ in Helsinki. I accepted
the offer and started thinking about this issue. When I received the synopsis
– which was one page long - from the Design Museum, I found the word ‘business’
six times. This made me decide to adapt my lecture.
Business, mostly equated with money and profits, has two sides. On the negative
side, profits are often short-term. The business world takes over existing ideas
and mostly makes profits at someone else’s expense. But the business world
on the other side can also create opportunities to make things happen which
otherwise wouldn’t – in return for profit, naturally – and
in both the short and long term. Those corporations make it possible to produce,
distribute and show design. I see them as “givers”.
For me, design stands for designers, designer groups, artists and all creative
people in the broadest possible way. They may also work in areas like music,
fashion, the arts, applied arts, film, architecture, or video… These are
History is an important aspect for museums. They try to save design for future
generations and are mostly open-minded, often contrary to the business world
whose primary concern remains profit. Museums also provide an opportunity for
the general public to see a part of design and to display accepted tendencies.
An important key for their input is time and distance. But the negative side
of museums is that they always consist of a closed space. The real world is
outside. Besides, people and designers don’t want to be put in a box.
They to me are “placers”.
This is, of course, a black-and-white vision. The reality is a lot greyer. Artists
can also be businessmen or even museum people. Businessmen can also be artists,
and in their job they too have to be creative in many ways. Thus everything
can be a mix of everything, like life itself. Everybody can be an asker, a giver
or even a placer. Contemporary life is a mixture of everything; everybody can
be supplementary or complementary. We have to accept that.