Anders Brix, architect maa mdd professor


Log of laboratory activities and findings

What is design?

The (Danish) Design Council asked all members to answer three basic questions about design. The statements will be a feature on the new council website. Questions below with my answers.

What is your definition of design?

In my definition, design means the artful care for our tangible environment and for our tools and objects. The task of design covers from conception (what a thing is) to concrete form (how a thing is). Thus, design is both inventive problem-solving and aesthetic form-giving; yet not more one than the other. Artful care transcends both form and content. Design creates meaning. Design articulates the practical world. Design is the poetics of the practical. 

What does design mean to you?

For me, the task of design comes with an ethical demand, since designing necessarily raises a question of almost existential character: How should we humans inhabit this (still) blue and green planet? In this regard, I think we should furnish our world so that it becomes beautiful, poetic and in tune with other sentient beings. I can see no compelling reasons to set our goals lower than to try to recreate the paradise we once lost.

How can design make a difference today?

We, the people of the priviliged world, face only one, real problem, which is that the lifestyle we have created cannot continue. Not very much of what we have does not need to be fundamentally changed in order to be relevant for the future. Design is therefore pivotal for us to equip ourselves to have a future at all.

Anders BrixComment