The Purpose of Design

Instead of narrating my thoughts or feelings on the topic, I'd instead love to learn what you think about these potentially opposing viewpoints in regards to the purpose of design:

Design As Active Experience Influencer
"It's all about well-being. That means when people walk into [a space], they don't know why they feel the way they feel. But it's actually all been orchestrated." - Ilse Crawford, Episode 8 of "Abstract: The Art of Design"

Design As Passive Experience Creator
“Good designs are where it is not dictated to the individual how they should perceive, operate or feel in the building, but have the flexibility to explore and experience it for themselves.” - Dr Marialena Nikolopoulou

Some additional thoughts from my end for consideration:

  • Are those goals mutually exclusive?

  • Does context matter? The first quote refers to design from an interior designer's perspective, the second from an architectural point of view.

  • Which design approach has the potential to have the greatest impact on how people work, rest, move through, and utilize a space? Which approach makes us 'feel' the strongest?

  • Does the intent or purpose of a space matter? Do potentially differing human experiences within a hospital vs. an office vs. a residential or hospitality space impact the function and purpose of design?

So, have at it! Use the comments section below and share your thoughts, experience, and insight. I look forward to the conversation.

Author image
About Ted Weil
The GAA Mothership: Canton, MA
Ted currently drives marketing activities at Great American Art. A musician and career marketer, he holds a B.A. Music from Colby College, and an MBA from the University of Rhode Island.