Design and Technology's Influence: Subtracting the Obvious and Adding the Meaningful
Lets face it. Life isn't getting any simpler. We live in a "here today, gone tomorrow" society with phone applications and products for anything and everything. It seems as though products are introduced and in consumers hands only to be obsolete a few months later. Communication and entertainment can be accessed at the push of a button and everyone has something they are trying to sell. As soon as we get into the car to head wherever we may be going, we are bombarded by radio advertisements and billboards selling products and how they will make our lives better or easier. This continues even in our homes. When we get home we feel obligated to get online and respond to emails because communication is so accessible that people expect answers immediately.
With so many things designed with the purpose of making our lives easier, are our lives really getting simpler or just bogged down and complicated by the accessibility to more? I cannot help but wonder if advanced technology and products result in a craving for simpler design.
In the book, The Laws of Simplicity: Design, Technology, Business, Life, John Maeda states:
"Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious and adding the meaningful." I find this to be true in interior design. Shouldn't our homes be a place to escape the complexity of life? Our lives are complicated by the media and technology and as a result of this we respond better to design that is straight forward and easily understood.
If we take a look at design over the past century, comparing design styles such as Art Nouveau or Art Deco with modern day design, there seems to be a dramatic increase of simplicity in form. The Art Nouveau era consisted of heavy, dramatic, and curvilinear lines that seem bulky when compared to more recent design. Design, whether in interiors or
has been continually decreasing in complexity and increasing in emphasizing the basic. We see more and more clean lines and simple shapes and patterns used throughout modern design. One reason for this points towards psychology and our basic needs. Some studies suggest that it is in our DNA to desire places of refuge for safety and security. In ancient times, people searched for places as shelter and safety. Although shelter and safety may not be much of an issue for most people today, could it be that people are searching for design that lends itself to be a refuge from the complexities of modern life?It seems as though we will just have to wait and see what direction interior design takes in the future. It will be interesting to see how the correlation between design and technology effects design and consumers' needs as technology continues to advance.