Writing as designing

“It is the other arts that taught me writing” was attributed to Stendhal –fictional or not, this rings familiar to me. While I’m not virtuous in English, I think of writing similarly to how I think of design and value (not in any order but in synergy):

  • The form, how richly is formatted and thoughtfully curated.
  • The function, how well is written following the given grammar standards.
  • The significance, how relevant, contextual, and meaningful.
  • And that elusive duende that Lorca described so precisely.

Dieter

Gary Hustwit has been kind enough to share his movies during this particular context we live in, and I had the opportunity to watch Rams a third time due to a profound respect for Dieter Rams and his legacy in a design culture –the European and Swiss in particular– I grew up in. Perhaps why I call him Dieter, a daring approximation to the familiar.

The picture’s cordiality and beauty shall not hide some proclaims that tend to get lost within the visual flare of the moving images and why not, the designer’s semblance. I can relate to these proclaims and are worth commemorating by their own, so here are a few quotes and notes extracted and abstracted from the film.

You cannot understand good design, if you do not understand people.

You have to find the right people. People who could actually achieve something through collaboration, who think beyond what they are responsible for on a daily basis. Who think What will our society look like in the future?

It honestly worries me that people are no longer looking each other in the eye. They are staring at their tablets and walking across the street like that. It is significant, how humanity has changed. Technology is changing faster all the time. Think of all the computers. If you get a computer today, it’s already obsolete tomorrow. Today, no industry is interested in repairing things. This is also a phenomenon –it’s better to just buy a new one. We have to get away from the un-culture of abundance. Because there is no future with so many redundant things. Less but better is not just a design concept, it’s also about our behavior.

He wasn’t interested in the museum value, he wanted to make good everyday products. Because they are still valid today. It’s important for people to start learning that good design doesn’t just happen. That it’s rather an outgrowth of our education. And that’s often a long evolution, these objects continue to develop from design to design.

You don’t have to like everything.

He is from that generation where designers dared to say this is bad design. Today we often hear this is interesting and never know what does that mean. We are entering a time when this question is it good or not good? is maybe becoming more important again. We can’t afford to be so indifferent.

I’m all in favor of experiments, but these are pretty useless. I can’t deal with things like this – confusion. I like orderly confusion very much. But this is neither orderly nor properly confused. I find things like this unnecessary. We don’t need them. We should forego them because we need the resources for better things.

I think that all this digitization is becoming more and more a part of our life. I think it diminishes our ability to experience things. There are pictures that disappear, one after the other, without leaving traces up here. This goes insanely fast. And maybe that’s why we can, or we want to, consume so much.

The world that can be perceived through the senses exudes an aura that I believe cannot be digitized.

I think Dieter’s legacy is simply the work from those 50 years. This legacy is two things: one legacy is the products, the variety, the strict adherence to his principles. That will carry on through the products, exhibitions and so on. And the other legacy is what he passed on to his colleagues and others, to take with them: the philosophy, the dedication towards the environment, and trying to get young designers to create really good design.

Design only works when it really seeks to achieve something for humanity.

How important is design today in terms of shaping a global future? True innovation and exceptional achievements are becoming more rare. It seems to me that the term design is mushrooming. Design has become a synonym for a backdrop, for beautiful appearance, for the stylish, and I fear we could lose our orientation at a point in time when orientation is needed as never before.

Additionally, this is Dieter’s speech from 1976 that explained his position on Design for Vitsoe, the furniture company he designed for, during and after his long period at Braun.


Unusual Affair

I oftentimes frequent the last pages of books to only meet their last word —that definitive detail we dare to forget. The word that conceals secrets about the book, the story, or the writer, while we pass by and shelve.

Inversely, the delicacy of this front, its arrangement, the typography, and the mastery of the author, deserves to delay the usual affair to the ordered time and place.

The Bauhaus in a Block

This is it. The verge of this 2019, the brink of a decade, and the conclusion of a century from the founding of one of the most significant schools of Design. The Bauhaus has proven to be inspiringly contagious in length and in varied fields.

Design came into being in 1919…

Bruno Munari

Many were the events, festivals, and exhibitions this year that honored its importance in Western culture. And we wanted to leave yet another gesture of admiration: The Bauhaus Block, a WordPress contraption to celebrate the century of this particular guild.

A unique block, extensible with three styles –basic forms, year, and ribbon– that embraces the character, variety, and edge of the Bauhaus movement itself.

This open-sourced block, whose code and design is available for everyone, came out of serendipitously exploring the edges of the block as a canvas for creative outputs, and as a desire to celebrate the Bauhaus with Gutenberg, a WordPress bet to the future of an open web. 

The Bauhaus was indeed a platform where all disciplines and possibilities could collide, a time and space for creative openness. The Bauhaus Block is the intent to intersect two distinct platforms such as the school’s and that of WordPress. Both were, are, and will be a stance, avoiding all rigidity, prioritizing creativity, freeing individuality and diversity. Both strive to build pleasant, responsible, reliable, and effortless design. 

By experimenting with the capabilities of the block as a creative platform, we hope the Bauhaus Block can inspire people to keep creating a stimulating and open web, as well as builders to keep building the next generation of blocks. 

While the Bauhaus is still anchored in many products and philosophies after 100 years, the WordPress block editor is only in the advent of an auspicious future, yet in constant change, as a new way forward for WordPress and the web publishing experience. A prelude of the next decade, why not the next century. 

Designing Like a Gardener

I work for a long time, sometimes years, on the same canvas. But all this time, there are periods, sometimes quite long, when I’m not doing anything with it.

The important thing for me is that its point of departure –the shock that determined it– must be felt.

Things come slowly. My vocabulary of forms, for example –I didn’t discover it all at once. It formed it self almost in spite of me.

Things follow their natural course. They grow, they ripen. I must graft. I must water. Ripening goes on in my mind. So I’m always working at a great many things at the same time. And even in different fields.

Joan Miró