Jessica Helfand is a designer, writer, podcaster, and publisher. She cofounded Design Observer in 2002 with Rick Poynor, Michael Bierut, and William Drenttel and most recently wrote the book, Design: The Invention of Desire. In this episode, the first part of a two-part conversation, Jessica and I talk about the origins of Design Observer, how she started writing, writing about design in relationship to culture, and how emerging mediums like video and podcasts can provide a new platform for design criticism.
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Aric Chen is a curator, writer, and design historian. He was recently appointed the general and artistic director of Rotterdam’s Het Nieuwe Institute (The New Institute) and previously served as curatorial director for Design Miami, curator at large for M+ and creative director of Beijing Design Week. He also is a professor and founding director of the Curatorial Lab at the College of Design and Innovation at Tongji University. In this episode, Jarrett and Aric talk about the value of wide interests and multidisciplinary careers, building M+’s collection, and what he hopes to do in his new job.
Bryony Quinn is a writer, editor, and educator. She teaches in design programs at the University of East London, London College of Communication, Royal College of Art, and Camberwell College and has written or edited for a variety of publications and books like Bricks from the Kiln and Failed States. In this conversation, Jarrett and Bryony talk about her move from illustration to writing, how she teaches writing to design students, and the role of editing. Oh, and punctuation.
Zak Kyes is the creative director and founder of Zak Group where he leads projects for cultural and commercial clients across scales and mediums. From 2006 to 2016, he was the art director of the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London and in 2007 he curated with Mark Owens Forms of Inquiry: The Architecture of Critical Graphic Design. In this episode, Jarrett and Zak talk about design as a type of cultural production, what he learned from working with architects, and rethinking our definitions of culture.