The post-lunch spot of the Schools of Thoughts conference was occupied by the “pragmatic utopians” as foccacia bread chicken sandwiches settled in our bellies. Same deal as the Jens Gehlhaar–Somi Kim lineup. Two speakers, one question: Where is the discipline heading and in what contexts will graphic designers be working?
Allan Chochinov, editor of Core77 started with a confession. He has an ambivalent relationship with product design and is afraid of the internet. We don’t know if that’s true; he seems obssessed–or at least highly amused–with viral phenoms like FRONT design furniture, Flickr Camera Toss, iPod toilets, Idealist, and how they get inserted into culture.
Opening with a eulogy to Jean Baudrillard, Peter Lunenfeld talked about “bespoke futures,” tracing the roots of futuristic design. But what he doesn’t want to see is design students just getting trained to work for big global brands (“transnatcorp des-edu” as he calls it). Actually, he says, take on the future as a client and create bespoke solutions–handcrafted, custom futures.
Chochinov and Lunenfeld are a perfect sci-fi pairing, and a real crowd pleaser. Whether it’s a “useful future” or not, points out Chochinov, this attitude is critical for design education. Although some audience members take issue with the word “bespoke” for its economic connotations, we’re gonna go with Lunenfeld’s lovable-nerd brilliance on this one. We want a book.