In pottery there are three kinds of cracks: firing cracks, impact cracks and glaze cracks. Firing cracks have no impact on the future, they never grow any larger as the fracture is sealed at both ends by the fire. Impact cracks come from the object being dropped, banged or subjected to some kind of violence. Those cracks could gradually spread over time and become larger and larger, threatening the longterm stability of the vessel. Glaze cracks are only in the surface coating and do not spread to the actual pot. If they are small they can be unnoticeable, although these too can grow
This brief introduction to crackology (please don’t Google the term, it is not a real word) helps us to decide what is happening in the design market. In April, over a quarter million of the design faithful gathered for Salone Internazionale del Mobile, otherwise known as Milan Design Week. Dezeen, that wonderful online design daily, published a series of interviews with men (I did not notice any women, a later point) who are the leading figures (and earners) in the contemporary market: Marc Newson, Jamie Hayon and Marcel Wanders.
They all sounded a little tense and resentful and they made design seem like a bowl that is developing a lot of new cracks. Maybe it is the fact that the design market is becoming brutally competitive and sales are not as buoyant as before (our correspondent on the ground described the mood in Milan this year as “flat”).
Australian, London-based designer, Newson, the biggest of the three, finds the design world’s marketing to be “pathetic” compared to the fashion world that he is now wooing. Hayon bemoans bad taste while creating some of most kitschy items in the market. Wanders avoids arrogant bluster and raises the most interesting critique: Is the virtual causing the a real to become less attractive?
We explore this through three other interview posts, one for each of the designers, test their comments, offer our opinion and show some of their work in ceramics. However, each is evaluated by their recent design of bathrooms to see whether they still have design chops. Enjoy the comparisons.
Garth Clark is the Chief Editor of CFile.
Above image: What is the state of design in light of the recent Milan Design Week?
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