It’s National Design Week! Get off your sofa and take a walking tour of your town or neighborhood, or maybe go to a newly developed part of your local area. You may have passed many places in the course of your normal life, but have you ever actually looked around carefully enough to see that Design lurks everywhere! If you don’t know where to go, contact the local chapter of the American Institute of Architects, who may offer or connect you to, local architecture walking tours, many of which are wheelchair friendly.
There are buildings to see, interiors to investigate, signage to notice for more than the information upon them, there is fashion to try on, even if you think it’s crazy, and gardens and parks to explore. You may have ignored more of these places than you have paid attention to them, but each of them was actually designed by someone or a team of someone’s.
Enjoy a full immersion in a restaurant: architecture, interior design, graphic design, sound design, lighting design, acoustic design (sometimes not), and even menu planning and plating design. A restaurant is a great place to pay attention to design, whether you like the design or not. What do you think that the designers were trying to communicate to you? Did they want it friendly, snobby, industrial, sophisticated, trendy? Make a guess, because whatever you feel is valid, even if that isn’t what the restauranteur or design team intended.
Other areas of Design include apps for your phone. Did the designers make it easy or hard to use? Is it beautiful or merely functional? Did the designers understand that the people who use the app may have differing abilities?
Try going to a museum for some design inspiration. Pay attention to the architecture of the museum. Find out if they have a design area that focuses on industrial design and furniture design. If you are lucky enough to be in New York City, check out the Cooper Hewitt Museum of Design, or the design department of the Museum of Modern Art. In Boston, we have the Design Museum, a museum without a building but with many exhibitions that explore or prove the concept that Design is Everywhere! Some past exhibits include outdoor benches, playgrounds, and prosthetics.
Once you’re a pro at looking for design, it’s fun to try to guess what the designers had in mind. At Leslie Saul & Associates, architecture and interiors, we think design should be intentional, and not haphazard or by accident.
Please let us know if you uncover some great design that you never noticed before. Paying attention to design is fun, it’s mostly free and it’s timely, because you will be celebrating National Design Week!