THE MAKERS OF EVERYDAY THINGS
Art and design are at the center of a semantic battle. Design can serve the purpose of making things attractive, easy to use, evocative, or simply functional. But unlike fine art, with design, there’s a mission, a problem to be solved. Some in the fine art community look down on design as a lesser form of expression; not free enough to be real art.
Historically speaking this is absurd. There has been plenty of meaningful art created on commission, from Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling to Picasso’s Guernica to Keith Haring’s mural Crack is Wack. For most of human history, artists were craftsmen, realizers of the visions of their patrons.
Let’s test this in the creative world of today: Do you know the name of the guy who designed the first iphone? Neither do I, but I know who Steve Jobs is.
In Vienna, design is tied into the city’s artistic identity. Whether in the Jugendstil buildings by Otto Wagner (Cover Story p18), the Thonet chair you see on our cover (see competition below), the details on Otto Neurath (Quotes, Stats & Numbers p16) or in the intricate stitches on a dress by Susanne Bisovsky (Profiles p28), the city honors its designer sons and daughters. With the popularity of the contemporary art scene on a steady rise (On Display p52), September in Vienna has become centered around design and creative culture (City Life p44).
If you’re looking to enhance your home decor with some Austrian design pieces, we’ve compiled a few ideas for you in our How To (p32). We also spoke to Christoph Thun-hohenstein about the current Neo-biedermeier age and how to design digital humanism (Melange p15) and visited the Austrian design company Wideshot, which has created some out-of-this-world work for Hollywood (Business p34).
Our On the Town pages (pp50-75) are packed with art, theater, comedy, film and music to keep you busy for several Septembers. Discover Vienna’s best shops (Local Finds p69) and our Events calendar (p86), curated especially for non-german speakers.
Form doesn’t always follow function, but when it does it’s especially satisfying. Let’s be thankful for good designers, appreciate them and when you have the pleasure of meeting one in the flesh, remember,
don’t be a stranger,