“Design is invisible,” writes Lucius Burckhardt. “We don’t need new products. We need new structures that change behavior,” claims Dieter Rams.
A few days before Labarre’s essay, I was listening to this fantastic interview with Dan Hill. In it, Dan complains about the “design as problem solving” trope. “We’re not that good at problem-solving, to be honest,” he says. “What designers are actually doing is cultural invention. They are inventing new things, which is different than problem-solving.” (italics mine).
They viewed design as the source code for a brave new world, making utilitarian, uniformlike clothing and uncompromisingly austere ceramics—material culture as a tool of radical egalitarianism.