Nº 278


Text: Stephan Ott

Translation: Nicholas Grindell


The design duo Doshi Levien recently made an astonishing statement. In an interview with the online magazine DEAR, Nipa Doshi said: “[…] I don’t like the idea that design must solve problems. In my view, that’s a task for doctors, lawyers, and consultants. […] Be it designers or architects, I think everyone designs things to make something beautiful.” And, as if to rule out any lingering misunderstandings, Jonathan Levien added: “As an architect, you don’t solve problems, you define spaces. […] Of course this may improve things and create good functions, but primarily it’s about a creative process and good design – that’s the motivation.” Each to his or her preferred source of motivation. But because Doshi Levien are no strangers to the public whose words carry no weight, I would like to vehemently disagree at this point, if only to pre-empt any imbalance: design must solve problems. Although there are differences of opinion within the editorial staff at form on how this solving should be done in specific cases, on the fact itself there is agreement. The problem may be called challenge, misery, conflict or whatever else. And of course attention to beauty is always a legitimate concern in design (however variously we might define what beauty actually means).



This issue’s focus theme “Weather” may seem far removed from all the usual concerns of design and designers. But it is our stated aim to take just such an approach to the essence of twenty-first century’s design. This doesn’t mean that everything is design or that everyone is a designer but – and this is the key difference – that designers, at least as much as doctors, lawyers, and consultants, are capable of counteracting a lack of (social) practice in all areas. Consequently, design expertise flows into the observation and forecasting of the weather, the design of atmospheres, and the creation of weatherproof clothing. And in the case of climate engineering, design offers an important critical voice.




Controversy may even be at the heart of design, but it certainly stimulates discourse. In this sense, the above statement by Doshi Levien even has its good side. One designer who remains controversial to this day is Luigi Colani. Although he turns 90 this August, he is not thinking of stopping anytime soon, as he assured us when we spoke to him. In this context, we would like to thank Bangert Verlag for kindly providing us with historical images and granting permission to reproduce them here.

And finally: after this issue, our editorial designer Sarah Schmitt is taking maternity leave. We wish her all the best for this new phase of her life and look forward

to welcoming her back soon.


Stephan Ott, Editor-in-Chief


Nº 281
Design and Archives

form Design Magazine

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