The Redesigning Of America


    Samsung Camera

    (4 of 4)

    Inevitably, not all the design efforts out there reflect the sensibility of an artist, and even many that do are downright, well, dysfunctional, like the Lexon radio on the cover of this magazine, which despite appearances is not waterproof. "Functionality has become more dimensional," says Susan Yelavich, assistant director of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, which last week opened its first National Design Triennial. "Function now embraces psychology and emotion." Or, as Karim Rashid puts it, "The more time we spend in front of computer screens, the more the look of our coffee cup takes on added importance."

    The question now is whether the design economy can be sustained or whether, when America's wave of prosperity recedes, we'll all edge back to plain-vanilla functionality. If he were around, Raymond Loewy would remind us that he got his start during the Great Depression, so perhaps the real design revolution is still to come. If so, Constant Nieuwenhuys is looking more prophetic than ever.

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