This past weekend, The New York Times Week in Review argues in a story headlined Design Loves a Depression that the recent economic slowdown will force designers to eschew novelty and the impractical, and focus more on the “intelligent reworking of current conditions”:
Design tends to thrive in hard times. In the scarcity of the 1940s, Charles and Ray Eames produced furniture and other products of enduring appeal from cheap materials like plastic, resin and plywood, and Italian design flowered in the aftermath of World War II.
Will today’s designers rise to the occasion? “What designers do really well is work within constraints, work with what they have,” said Paola Antonelli, senior curator of architecture and design at the Museum of Modern Art. “This might be the time when designers can really do their job, and do it in a humanistic spirit.”
Related: Designing Through the Recession, by designer Michael Bierut
UPDATE: Murray Moss takes the WIR to task in a piece today on Design Observer:
Design loves a depression? I can assure you that design, along with painting, sculpture, photography, music, dance, fashion, the culinary arts, architecture, and theatre, loves a depression no more than it loves a war, a flood, or a plague. Michael Cannell’s article is regressive and mean-spirited, and it demands a response.
…quite a provoking discussion.