Dezeen's top 10 architecture and design quotes of 2018
Quotes roundup 2018

Dezeen's top 10 architecture and design quotes of 2018

China's emerging design scene, the changing role of the bed, and gender and race diversity were among the big topics discussed on Dezeen this year. For our review of 2018, design editor Augusta Pownall picks 10 quotes that sum up the design and architecture scene right now.


Quotes roundup 2018

Olafur Eliasson: "Every finance minister should train as a culture minister"

The artist who has just installed glacial icebergs outside London's Tate Modern said in an interview with Dezeen that too many governments are exploiting culture for promotional gain rather than using it as a tool for fostering communities.

Eliasson decried the fact that the responsibility for the culture sector in the UK is often left to private enterprise, and warned that a failure to invest in culture is fuelling a rise in popularism, which appears to be on the increase across the globe.

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"Designers aren't taking responsibility" says Stella McCartney in Dezeen's exclusive interview

Stella McCartney: "There should be laws to make it harder for people to screw up the planet"

Fashion designer Stella McCartney has long been a vocal campaigner for cruelty-free fashion but, speaking to Dezeen as she opened her flagship store in London's Mayfair earlier this year, she has made it clear that all of us have the power to make a change.

However McCartney believes that we can't rely on people to simply behave well, rather that there should be legislation in place to support it.

Read the full interview ›


Beatriz Colomina, Serpentine 2018 Work Marathon

Beatriz Colomina: "Sleep has become work, hard work"

Architectural historian Beatriz Colomina organised two bed-ins this year, modelled after John Lennon and Yoko Ono's famous honeymoon in an Amsterdam hotel. Rather than protesting the Vietnam War, Colomina used the opportunity to ask questions about our relationship with our beds.

The 9-to-5 is no more – we're all attached to our phones and working from all over the world – which affects the separation of work and home. Colomina asked whether this has made us all exhausted husks, and pointed to the fact that we're all a bit different when we're in bed.

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Chinese designers are "developing their own language" say Neri&Hu

Neri&Hu: "European consumers think Chinese design is about copying"

Speaking to Dezeen at the Milan furniture fair in April, Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu said that appreciation for design and architecture in China is growing extremely fast. They said that there's creative support from the Chinese government to overturn the view that China churns out good copies.

The mindset of western consumers is changing more slowly, said the pair. They also pointed to the fact that many designers are now educated at home rather than studying in the west before going home to develop a vernacular style, as they did. Things have transformed since they spoke to Dezeen six years ago, when they bemoaned the lack of a specific Chinese design language.

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Quotes roundup 2018

Cathy Sparks: "Retail is not dead, but boring retail is dead"

Nike's Cathy Sparks is clear that their customers are committed to buying products online, but they're staying sharp by using data from shoppers' habits and time spent on Nike apps to predict what they'll want to see at a physical store nearby. The idea is to bolster the physical experience by using insights from digital.

Sparks stressed to Dezeen the need for convenience, introducing lockers for pick-up of items reserved online and the option to text ahead and be met by a Nike employee as they arrive at the store to return items. For now it's available at the Melrose store in Los Angeles, but Nike has plans to roll it out next year.

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Portrait of Michael Ford

Michael Ford: "Historically architecture has not been promoted to communities of colour"

Minority communities are being held back from architecture and design, but not for lack of interest, architect Michael Ford was keen to point out. Musicians Solange Knowles and Pharrell Williams have spoken about their love of design and A$AP Rocky said he'd have been an interior designer if he wasn't a rapper.

Ford runs camps that use music to encourage children from minority communities to take an interest in the build environment, but recognises that a nod from a hugely influential personality can do much more than he can.

Read the full interview ›


Quotes roundup 2018

David Adjaye: "It's all about money now"

Adjaye told an audience at the World Architecture Festival in Amsterdam that architects have a responsibility to the people that use the buildings they design, as well as fulfilling the brief of the client.

Too many projects are driven by who controls the money, with costs spiralling into the billions, he claimed. Adjaye argued that architecture should be a melting pot of ideas, and too often cash gets in the way of a meaningful result.

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Formafantasma: "The iPhone is not a very innovative product"

Simone Farresin and Andrea Trimarchi argued that, in the future, components of electronic devices will be recycled and reused as readily as materials. The parameters of "innovation" are too narrow, they said, and don't include how easily a product can be recycled. By that standard the iPhone – perhaps the most famous design of the 21st century – fails.

Their practical solution is to design products that are easily taken apart, label parts adequately, avoid using glue, and implement a universal colour-coded system of identification.

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Beverly Willis: "Hardly anybody can name another woman architect"

The 90-year-old architect and filmmaker Beverly Willis often challenges people to name more than one female architect, and finds that most fail. This despite the fact that women are taking on some of the most prestigious projects in New York, where she lives.

Despite companies publishing their gender pay gaps last year, and the pressure of the #MeToo movement, the architecture and design worlds still aren't where they need to be when it comes to gender equality, she said.

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Jan Boelen

Jan Boelen: "Recycled plastic design is bullshit"

Jan Boelens, curator of the Istanbul Design Biennale, cut through the rising noise around plastic consumption by declaring that recycling plastic was a waste of time.

Rather than propping up the plastics industry by focusing our attentions on reusing the material, we should work on large-scale bioplastic alternatives to plastic made from fossil fuels, he said.

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