Designers Defend Why Modern Matters
July 16, 2009 - 11:46am

“The crisis of a down economy should be viewed as an opportunity, not as a disadvantage. It’s an opportunity to focus on our ingenuity and creativity, to offer something more to the consumer and the designer.” -Arturo Àlvarez
Arturo Àlvarez available through Boutique Design Products

“Tough times forces us to define what is most dear to our hearts. A shoestring budget can never kill enthusiasm, love, wonder or passion.” -Chris Adamick
Test Collective

“I do not believe that contemporary design should suffer because of what is going on in this troubled time. Some of the most beautiful and classic concepts were inspired by setting guidelines to work within due to [outside] factors.” -Piotr Woronkowicz
Test Collective

“This situation makes the designers more demanding with themselves to offer more creative, more real, more solid, more useful and more seductive products that tell true stories and meet sincere needs.” -Christophe Mathieu

“One of the reasons I am able to mow on through this down economy is because I am doing contemporary design that is also ecologically minded. That combination is especially important because people are finally interested in the sustainable aspects of life.” -Christopher Poehlmann
CP Lighting

“We should not stop our creative steps in this kind of depression. Limitation encourages us to create new values.” -Daisuke Hiraiwa
g. +

“In many ways a recession encourages, and in some cases, forces us to make better decisions about how we live. Although contemporary design is not synonymous with good design, I believe good contemporary design contributes to a simpler, more thoughtful lifestyle.” -Darin Montgomery

“It feels like the ‘down economy’ has added to this landscape by providing a challenging space for innovation. The innovation that happens under this type of pressure secures a place for contemporary design, making it an integral part of how we navigate the recession.” -Donna Brady
Re-Surface Design

“When dealing with contemporary design, objects that are handmade — and made to last, become more important as they bring a sense of longevity and stability. Thus, well-thought-out contemporary design is more economically valuable than a more cheaply and quickly manufactured piece of furniture.” -Eric Weil
Oso Industries

“I do not believe in a down economy. Now is the time for new opportunities and challenges. Positive thinking boosts the economy.” -Esther van Emmerik
Eve Design

“In the current market, consumers want value for their purchase, and design is no exception. We make functional works of art which are handmade, organic, domestically produced, one-of-a-kind and eco-friendly.” -Jeffrey Goodman
jGoodDesign LLC

“Contemporary design doesn’t have to fear the current economic crisis, it just needs to adapt. Designers are supposed to come up with answers to everyday challenges and right now one of the biggest challenges is affordability. This is an opportunity for innovation.”
Jessica Chon

“The right kind of design for a down economy isn’t one that’s notably inexpensive or faddish. An inexpensive design that ends up in a trash bin every couple of years is an expensive proposition over time, and entirely anti-ecological.” -Jonathan Daifuku
Daifuku Designs

“Design provokes surprise, pleasure and peace of mind. I think contemporary design gives a happiness that is very important in tough economy.” -Junko Shiba

“Contemporary design has the ability to stretch the imagination and remind people that there are other avenues of enrichment outside of financial gain. In a down economy, with its reduced flow of money, people should focus on things that make them happy.” -Kenzan Tsutakawa Chinn
Studio 1 Thousand

“Contemporary design must work as a partner with all technologies, looking to not only help the economy but also develop solutions with an ecological purpose. If we can ally great design with an ecological vision we will enlarge our creativity and leave a better planet for our children.” -Marcia Perasso
Marcia Perasso Concept Designer

“Contemporary design holds the same position it does in tough economic times as it does in times of economic boom. Contemporary design holds the promise that the objects in our lives have meaning, and that our relationships with them can enrich our lives in a profound way.” -Omer Arbel

“Whether its an up or down economy, contemporary design is asked to question what already is and then improve upon it. In our current state of affairs, the notion of ‘recklessness’ will be an influential concept in that dialogue. Whatever the case may be, as the functional arm of creativity, design will be asked to lead us in a better direction and inspire.” -Scott Strickstein
Scott Strickstein Art & Design

“[The down economy] really forced us to be innovative and creative in the use of our materials; we were trying to search for things around us that we could easily get, but still try to make beautiful objects out of them. It really forces you to think creatively to solve your problems.” -Seth Grizzle
Gray Pants Inc.

“Contemporary design is a response to our times and culture. A positive result of the world’s financial crisis is we now are reevaluating what, in fact, has value. In this down economy, we turn to what is important: our relationships, this moment, community and our love of them all.” -Tucker Robbins
Tucker Robbins Inc.


“Contemporary design inspires one to look forward.  In a down economy, when people are considering their purchases carefully, it is more forward thinking to buy pieces that will not only look fresh now but will have a lasting appeal.” - Tracy Glover

Tracy Glover Studio


The time is now for high-quality products. Things you want to keep for your whole life. Ecological and economical circumstances do not allow us to waste products from fashion to fashion. The key is good design. - Leonid Rath

J. & L. Lobmeyr


“Nothing soothes the mind like a streamlined and sophisticated contemporary space. I find that during stressful times it is important to remember to take a step back, be thankful for what you have and take time out to appreciate your environment.” - Meredith Goodwin Bajaj

Goodwin Design


“Good design should be strived for in a down economy as well as in a prosperous one. There's no reason that even the most mundane of objects be unappealing to the senses. You really get what you pay for.” -- Laurie Beckerman

Beckerman Design


“Material and manufacturing decisions are more important now than ever. Many people are seeking high-quality products that will last. This has influenced us to use durable materials and manufacture locally. Supporting your community is a great way to improve a struggling economy.” – Paul Georgeson



“The role of contemporary design in the current economic crisis can be summed to a single word: sustainability. Design as a whole in today’s reality holds the responsibility of delivering objects and elements that are practical solutions that suit consumers’ needs while playing an important social-communitarian role.” - Marco Sousa Santos

Marco Sousa Santos


“No business can survive and succeed with what it was doing yesterday — therefore contemporary design is key to driving our businesses through the recession. In the current economic downturn, it is tempting to cut marketing or research and development budgets, but now more than ever design is becoming the most important tool to give us the competitive edge.” – Rachel O’Neill

The Art of Design


“Designers are researchers and have knowledge of where the world is going. They are acting in our society to meet the needs of people. If the economy is in shambles, designers may employ new vision or other avenues to look for hope and divert attention from bad times.” – Ali Siavoshi

Ali Siavoshi


“Now is a time to reflect on our behaviors, clean out the house of unnecessary clutter and start living our lives in a more pure way. Clean, simple, contemporary design lets us do this very easily and allows us to reflect on our selves much better.” - Andrew Muggleton

Andrew Muggleton Furniture and Design


"Contemporary design is about new ideas, and a down economy is the perfect time for the best new ideas to flourish. Because customers can’t spend frivolously, they will only buy products that make sense and really work for them.” - Josh Jakus



“Good design thrives on economic, social and creative constraints. Contemporary design is usually considered sparse and simple and this often visual perception is more than skin deep. Contemporary design is philosophically in line with the emerging attitudes of sustainability, ethical design and economic innovation.” - Jaime Salm



“Design is a dialog with our surroundings. Many of the new designs I saw at the ICFF show responded humorously, elegantly and ecologically to our current economy. Discovering new ways to provide functional, aesthetically pleasing and affordable items is a challenge and an art.”  -- Rachel Simon




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