Originality: a myth?

Rima Alsammarae, editor of Commercial Interior Design

This past month I was out with some friends when the topic of originality came up in discussion. The one friend who was spearheading the conversation argued that there was no such thing as creativity, and rather artists today are taking inspiration from one another and simply trying to evolve one idea onto the next level.

It was a provocative conversation, especially for me, as I still maintain hope that there remains room for creativity in the artistic genius.

Literature, architecture and, of course, interior design, are just some of the artistic fields that I personally feel there continues to be an effort made toward originality. While there are the copy-and-paste creations, there are icons today in these fields that couldn’t have existed a century ago.


Another friend of mine brought up the assistance of technology, and whether or not designers today are creative or just lucky to have access to technology that people even 40 years ago didn’t have. “Would Zaha Hadid be Zaha Hadid without the advancements in technology? Probably not,” he said. “But because technology makes certain styles more possible now, architects and designers are freer to experiment. But that doesn’t make it ‘original’.”

But I beg to differ. I would like to think that icons today like Zaha Hadid, Rem Koolhaas and Philippe Starck had their visions first, and worked towards achieving technology that allowed their dreams to manifest second. It’s a question of the chicken and the egg. Architecture and design rely on technology, while technology is inspired by the hopes and dreams fueled by today’s creative minds.

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