above> front cover of my memoir
12 November 2023
I wanted to let you know I’m writing a memoir about my 50-years in the design universe. It’s an 11 X 11 inch, 400-plus page coffee table book geared towards anyone who has had a stake in design and appreciates design-related storytelling. So why am I sharing this news with you? Because you’re someone I’d like to feature in my book.
My memoir, the design of me, is structured around seven themes, one of which is about curation. This theme allows me to add content that I did not create myself, but work done by others, work done by designers and architects I have curated throughout the years, the ones I admire and respect and study, who have immeasurably contributed to the design of me, which by the way is the title of my book. I call these designers and architects — Yves Behar, Guilio Cappellini, Formafantazma, Jeanne Gang, Nicolae Halmaghi, Jasper Morrison, and Jean Nouvel — My Seven Masters.
Although pagination is not finalized, I’m allocating two spreads for each person’s work. The first spread is shared by all of you, My Seven Masters. I’ve already put a statement there about each of you, which I took from your websites. The second spread is for a project(s) of yours that you feel checks all the boxes for your personal best. It can be a 10-year old project or one that is still on the drawing board. Any images I’ve included in this post are ones that I chose, but might not be what the highlighted designer/architect would want to present.
I’m looking for unique ideas that have real value in today’s world. For example an idea
> That includes sustainable attributes be it materials, manufacturing, or philosophy
> That is devoted to the public good that breaks traditional notions into their basic elements and recombines them in new ways to unlock more value
> That introduces a new technology or a better use of an existing technology
So what do I want from you? Your participation in this venture. Writing this book has certainly been an incredible experience for me and I would be so grateful if you could be a part of it. My self-imposed deadline looms before me so I would really appreciate a response from you at your earliest convenience. If you agree to participate, can you provide your statement and project(s) by the end of December, 2023?
Questions? I’m here waiting for them. Looking forward to hearing from you.
0 01 773 807 7711 m OK to text.
So you can see for yourself the kind of book I want you to be a part of, this post contains the following example pages from the design of me including some pages from THE CURATOR, the chapter that tells about you.
ABOUT THIS BOOK — This is my first book. I wrote it to chronicle my own history. That’s what you do if you care about who you are and/or what you did, and when you get an incurable rare cancer diagnosis. Writing a memoir might seem self-serving, especially when the title is the design of me. I’ve concluded it is. Unless you add content that you deem driven to inform your readers, something useful to them, content that will benefit them rather than just info all about you.
As the book materialized, I found solace in thinking about my potential audience, that it didn’t matter if they knew me or not. I told myself that someone will find what I say more useful than useless. That’s all the motivation I needed.
I bring to this enterprise a 50-year design career, 30 years of which have made me an expert in my field. At least I think so. However, in the past 10 years, my thoughts, beliefs, and ideas defining what a designer does have greatly changed. So have my opinions about what constitutes good design.
I’ve also been a teacher of design. My interactions with students, me teaching them as well as them teaching me, caused me to rethink how to teach as well as what to teach.
And lastly, as I’ve shaped design, with its unusual expansion of touching so many walks-of-life endeavors, I’ve learned about how design ultimately shaped me as a designer and as a person.
Following spread — Photo artist David Rosen casts me in an homage to Maxell’s Blown-Away Man.
THE CURATOR — You are what you curate. The clothes you decide to wear. The restaurants you choose to frequent. The projects you elect to pursue. The people you choose to be friends with. The art you buy and hang on your walls. Curating your life means selecting those activities and things that are most important, meaningful, and joyful for you. Ultimately it’s your decisions that define who you are.
This chapter is about two areas of my life that are curated crowns for me. One is my online architecture and design publication, DesignApplause [DA]. The other is the designers and architects who I’ve met personally and gotten to know even better through their work.
When I created DesignApplause, I created a curating machine. It’s a publication that seeks out designers, architects, and producers of bespoke objects. At this writing DA has covered over 5,000 objects. And as its curator, I use my professional knowledge to collect, select, and present content that focuses on the best design and the finest architecture.
Regarding the designers and architects I curate, there are many I celebrate and consider quite significant. However, there are those who have created unique ideas that have real value in today’s world and who embrace causes significantly important to me — sustainability, environments, social impact, and technology: Yves Behar, Giulio Cappellini, Jeanne Gang, Nicolae Halmaghi, Jasper Morrison, Jean Nouvel, and Andrea Trimarchi & Simone Farresin. Therefore, I have featured these inspirational masters in this chapter.
Finally as the designer and author of this book, I can state it’s the designers and architects I have curated throughout the years—the ones I admire and respect and study, the ones I present in DesignApplause—who have immeasurably contributed to the design of me.
below> MY SEVEN MASTERS — You are what you curate and I’ve curated the following stellar masters. Though there are others I could list, I’m featuring just these seven because they have demonstrated the unique ability to combine creativity, technology, environments, social impact, sustainability, and climate in their design. As I follow their work and deeds, these designers and architects have certainly been a great inspiration to me.
DESIGNAPPLAUSE — It was in 2001 that I had one of those aha moments. While sitting in my doctor’s office I saw a copy of Business Week with Steve Jobs on the cover. My first thought was OMG design is being featured in a major business publication. And then back in my design office, where we all were beginning to learn about and do website design, the revelation came to me — design-driven objects on the Internet could change the way people shop for products. Within three months I copyrighted DesignApplause [DA], not exactly sure what it was going to be but very sure that it needed to be.
So from 2002 through 2004 I created visual and financial concepts for DA. In 2004 I also began talking to Michael Bierut [Pentagram] about their new Design Observer site [launched in 2003] and he provided valuable insight about blog platforms and content. But truth be known, I didn’t know what I was doing regarding what would work or not work online. I started building a site anyway with the help of a former design student, Rachel Folk, who did all the custom technical heavy lifting for three years. In 2007 Google hired her with DA being a large part of her portfolio.
below> the following are sample spreads from DesignApplause.
below> a final thought in my book
below> back cover of my memoir