Bayley Loves Design, Maybe Too Much


A nice personal story by Stephen Bayley in the Guardian‘s weekend edition, “My Name is Stephen. I’m a Design Addict.” Terrible headline aside, it’s a great little New Yorker-esque bit about how one person (in this case, a very famous design critic and first director of the Design Museum) fell headlong into a deep and profound fascination with this industry. You’ll enjoy it. And after a long weekend when you’re likely asking yourself questions like, “Hey, can I quit working as a designer and find some profession that allows me to sit outside and drink beer all day with my friends?” this will serve as some nice inspiration to get you back to the tasks at hand. Here’s a bit:

Modern design, at least as it revealed itself to me, is all about making the best of contemporary possibilities, of democratising beauty and maintaining a faith in the belief that better products and better environments are life-enhancing. Voltaire said it was the purpose of art to improve on nature. I’d say that it is the purpose of design to improve on industry. This seems uncontroversial, but tends to annoy even the most unlikely people. Long ago, my colleague Lynn Barber interviewed me (for another newspaper). She found it risible that I cared about the appearance of teapots, something which she construed to be arrogant and effete elitism. But really it’s quite the opposite: my inspiration has always been that of the old Italian Communist Party – the best salami for everyone! Design is (at least meant to be) the ultimate in pop acceptability.