For the 3rd episode of our weekly talk with Archiproducts Design Awards jury members we have questioned photographer Beppe Brancato, designer Kirsten Murray – from Seattle based studio Olson Kundig – and graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister.

In anticipation of the jury’s decision and the names of the winners, we ask the jury members about their personal point of view of project culture and their expectations of this year’s nominees.

 

Beppe Brancato “I hope to find real stories behind the objects, not just hasty decisions dictated by what’s trending.

Native of Sicily, Beppe Brancato lives and works in Milan, where he began as a lighting technician. Today he collaborates with major design labels and has numerous publications in important national and international magazines.

What are you looking forward to finding in our entries and which features are you going to reward?
Because of my upbringing and my Sicilian origins I feel attracted by everything that has a story to it and bears the marks of its evolution. Design today, more often than not, seems the result of shallow knowledge and driven by fugacious trends that won’t leave traces. That is why I hope to find real stories behind the objects, their genesis and evolution, not just hasty decisions dictated by what’s trending.

Which role do you think a Design Award should have nowadays?
Nowadays designers are confronted with a society saturated with objects, jaded with false innovations and copies of replications. I think a Design Award should have the awareness and see it as its responsibility to contribute to an active and constant creative process and, where it’s viable, to add something.

In which direction should contemporary product Design go and how should it evolve to answer people’s needs?
In a historical period like the one we live in, with a pandemic that just hits everyone indiscriminately, people’s needs seem to have changed. Stasis has gained the upper hand, bringing that constant rush of our daily life to a sudden halt. Everyone’s needs have become more elementary. We have been forced to stay home, to actually live our homes, and our attention has been caught by this rediscovery. Perhaps design should shake off some ‘garnishment’ and superficiality and try to return to the essence of what makes it grow and evolve after every difficult moment in history.

 

Stefan Sagmeister: “I’m looking forward to receive a wide view of the best work being designed right now, anywhere.”

Widely known and acclaimed, of Austrian origin but based in New York, Stefan Sagmeister is considered one of the most transgressive characters in modern graphic design. He is best known for his provocative posters and the album covers he designed for various rock icons: Lou Reed, Talking Heads’ David Byrne (with whom he won a Grammy for the best cover, using Russian paintings), Rolling Stones, Aerosmith and others. Sagmeister’s unique approach to graphic design has changed the graphic and visual identity design process, toppling its extreme rationalism and moving its aesthetic research to the verge of ‘ugliness’.

What are you looking forward to finding in our entries and which features are you going to reward?
I’m looking forward to receive a wide view of the best work being designed right now, anywhere. I’m going to reward pieces I feel are helpful to someone, and work that is delightful.

Kirsten Murray: “My own design bias is towards objects that reveal their use and are simple in form.

Kirsten is partner of American design studio Olson Kundig since 1989. During her career she has designed everything from private homes to mixed-use buildings, always with special attention to the various aspects of communal life. Her latest projects include Paradise Road Housing at Smith College, the Copine RestaurantNYC-Media Headquarters and Lab for Capital One in New York.

What are you looking forward to finding in our entries and which features are you going to reward?
Products are essentially tools, so in that sense I will be looking for entries that are functionally driven and that have been designed to solve real problems. My own design bias is towards objects that reveal their use and are simple in form.

Which role do you think a Design Award should have nowadays?
Design awards are great opportunities to foster conversations throughout the design industry, and they can be a platform to inform interdisciplinary thinking. Awards also provide an opportunity to illustrate the value of design to a broader audience, potentially reaching new clients and collaborators, or inspiring the next generation of designers.

In which direction should contemporary product Design go and how should it evolve to answer people’s needs?
Many of us are currently in a period of self-reflection, and perhaps reaffirming our commitment to positively impacting issues like sustainability, equity, and value. Our modern design principles grew out of the now-hundred-year-old notion of using technological advancements – like mass production and fabrication – to elevate the quality of life for all people. That idea and ambition remains as relevant as ever, and I think still provides valuable guidance for contemporary designers.