Opinion: Research elevates design and its impact

I have a confession: I had a star-struck moment recently. Her energy is infectious, and her ideas, thought-provoking. I’m talking about our cover personality in the April issue of Commercial Interior Design (CID), Patricia Urquiola ( page 12), who was in town to represent Cassina at the opening of its parent company Poltrona Frau’s new Dubai showroom. Besides her star power, she has energised the field with her unique approach to creativity – steered by research and a fundamental understanding of design.

Stressing strongly on research, Urquiola’s oeuvre exemplifies why research-led design trumps mass-produced consumer goods that are lacking in objectivity. Paradoxical as it may seem, results suggest that design and scientific data complement each other. While the former is more creatively directed, the latter brings forth a rational thought process, which eventually fulfils the goal of good design – to find solutions for problems.

Unsurprisingly, it resonates with every designer and innovator, who goes beyond the task of creating just another chair or machine. One name that comes to mind at this point is Jake Dyson (page 48), the charismatic and brilliant successor of the renowned Dyson legacy. In the true sense, he is not a designer; he is an engineer, who is convinced that the world needs more of his ilk to solve everyday problems – be it clean energy, a plane, or a smart lamp.

This brings me to our other hot topic in this issue – lighting design (page 51). No other design discipline has seen as stratospheric a growth as the lighting industry. Beyond its aesthetic role, lighting can dramatically alter the perception of a space and improve the function of the building which it seeks to highlight.

At the recently concluded Light + Building event in Frankfurt, a number of awe-inspiring products were launched, which are spectacular not only for how sleek and edgy they look, but also for their function. Inventions, which include futuristic concepts, such as using light as a communication device, were introduced at the fair. By combining cutting-edge technology with research done over many decades, lighting designers are opening our eyes to a whole new world.

With such pervasive investigation, the fathomable future does look bright. To celebrate such lighting innovations in the region, starting this year, the CID Awards has launched a new category – Best Interior Lighting Project of the Year.

Last but not the least, if you haven’t already signed up for the second edition of designMENA Quiz Night (page 18), which takes place on April 25th, limited opportunities are still available for the industry’s most fun and creative event.

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