What People Talk About When They Talk About “Design Life Now”

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You’d think it was called the Kidrobot Design Triennial by the way reviewers latched onto its toy-as-sculpture as the smooth plastic face of the exhibition. (It’s even the image Cooper-Hewitt features on the website.) But the customizable Dunny/Munny and the collector culture surrounding it does seem to encompass the show’s themes: community, interaction, do-it-yourself design, transformation, and, in its own weird way, biomimicry.

Other crowd favorites were Pixar, Panelite, and SnowWorld, a virtual environment for burn victims. Most isolated Jason Miller’s curbside recreations for their brilliance (like the play-doh trash can here, to which we say…we don’t get it). And let’s not forget the iPod, almost everyone said. No one did.

Core77 gives the party report (with an image of the cooler-than-cool coat that won curator Barbara Bloemink UnBeige Award for Best Outfit Ever at the National Design Awards).

Wired’s Michael Myser has photos of what he liked paired with mainly quotes from the catalog and some observations. Tech-heavy, as expected.

The Philly Inquirer seems to be too dazzled by “cool design, man” to understand what’s important or interesting about the show. But we give them points for trying.

And today, the NY Times’ Roberta Smith sifts through the “design pollution” with several dead-on observations, and one that surprised us:

Among the freshest things in “Design Life Now” are the two new fonts, Clash Sans and Clash, designed by COMA for use in the exhibition’s catalog and labels. Both fonts simply combine the two existing, classically opposed fonts Times Roman and sans-serif Helvetica–using one for consonants and the other for vowels. Despite the comfortingly familiar elements, the fonts look as a whole like nothing you’ve quite seen before.

In a world of robot lobsters, type rules. We love that.