I would like to continue the discussion that I started in my latest David Report bulletin launched yesterday. The issue is called Vulgarism and concerns the ongoing convergence between design and art. At the recent Milan Furniture Fair we saw teapots in super size, huge Pinocchio dolls in mosaic, porcelain horse heads and knitted dogs. Is design flirting with art, or is it art flirting with design? I have got lots of feedback which prove that it is important that the Vulgarism is discussed and that serious questions about it are brought onto the agenda.

A new money-driven scene is created when the art galleries suddenly see a possibility to commercialize a current trend in the design world. Or is it the other way round; the trend is created by the galleries? As I mentioned in the Vulgarism bulletin Ambra Medda, the founder of Design Miami, sees a great demand of design-art from celebrities and young wealthy couples. It is maybe just natural that the designers would like to grab the money and consequently line up to take part in the rat-race?

I would like to quote Philip Wood from Citizen-Citizen who responded to the bulletin: “Just because it’s expensive and limited edition doesn’t make it art”. That is very true. I think that most people involved in the art world would agree. But what about design? What do all people involved in the design world say? A somewhat pushing question could be; is it design at all? According to me design is closely associated with industrial production, so a certain volume is necessary. It has also a lot to do about functionality and solving problems. When we are talking about more or less handmade one-off objects, we are maybe drifting into the land of sloyd and handicraft instead? Nothing bad at all, I like the texture and personal touch of handicraft objects a lot, but I would not call it design.

What do you think? Both out of an art and design perspective? What is the Vulgarism; a spectacle created by the mass media and fancy gallery owners, or the future of design?


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