Industrial Design As Moving Art

Design is never going to replace a meaningful life, never fill a spiritual void, never provide a sense of place and belonging… but, design or lack thereof can create a positive or negative contribution to the experience. Design has very little to do with expense, status, and exclusion — though, certainly, marketers would desire it so in your mind. Good design costs no more than crap design. Good design can and should be applied to the “every-person’s” experience.

No, really, design visually defines our temporal links with memory and place. It’s how we visually define the age of Pharaohs, the Roman Empire, the Middle Ages, the Victorian Era, the 1950’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s…

And, whether or not you can afford some of your favorite designs, they are the stuff of dreams and inspiration — pursuing the exotic sportscar at retirement or responsibly enjoying funkiness in a Smart car. Just as likely, the choice of “bad” design is the stuff of outward messaging and inward self-definition. In the middle, most people rarely give design a thought or appreciate its effect on the “way” in which one experiences their life.

Who can deny that the automobile has defined most modern cultures worldwide? Though it should be an endangered and outmoded species — soon replaced by high-speed, convenient, cleaner, and efficient mass transit (by the way, there are some incredibly cool train, tram, and trolley designs in Europe and Japan) — the modern automobile sparks the imagination and adrenaline of many. For me, as a child, I couldn’t wait for the new model years to begin, as I played “spot-the-changes.”

Today, my sensibility has evolved to appreciate the design as mobile art. So, as an adult my giddy excitement of the inner boy can still be stirred. Here, then, are my personal design favorites of the (hopefully soon-to-be replaced) automobile world:

(click on an image to view large version)



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