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David Carlson

Falsterbo, Sweden

Design management

Member since May 29, 2007

  • A discussion about Vulgarism

    Arts & Culture, Industrial Design


    I would like to continue the discussion that I started in my latest David Report bulletin. The issue is called Vulgarism and concerns the ongoing convergence between design and art. At the recent Milan Furniture Fair we saw teapots in super size, huge Pinocchio dolls in mosaic, porcelain horse heads and knitted dogs. Is design flirting with art, or is it art flirting with design? I have got lots of feedback which prove that it is important that the Vulgarism is discussed and that serious questions about it are brought onto the agenda.

    A new money-driven scene is created when the art galleries suddenly see a possibility to commercialize a current trend in the design world. Or is it the other way round; the trend is created by the galleries? As I mentioned in the Vulgarism bulletin Ambra Medda, the founder of Design Miami, sees a great demand of design-art from celebrities and young wealthy couples. It is maybe just natural that the designers would like to grab the money and consequently line up to take part in the rat-race?

    I would like to quote Philip Wood from Citizen-Citizen who responded to the bulletin: “Just because it’s expensive and limited edition doesn’t make it art”. That is very true. I think that most people involved in the art world would agree. But what about design? What do all people involved in the design world say? A somewhat pushing question could be; is it design at all? According to me design is closely associated with industrial production, so a certain volume is necessary. It has also a lot to do about functionality and solving problems. When we are talking about more or less handmade one-off objects, we are maybe drifting into the land of sloyd and handicraft instead? Nothing bad at all, I like the texture and personal touch of handicraft objects a lot, but I would not call it design.

    What do you think? Both out of an art and design perspective? What is the Vulgarism; a spectacle created by the mass media and fancy gallery owners, or the future of design?

  • The interesting and weird thing that underpins these questions is, as David suggests the relationship that design and art and art and design have always had. The birth of the design occured when artisans transformed and modulated their creative urges into expertise in alignment with the industrial revolution and the idea of creative function. It seems to me that in a strange way we have gone full circle to some extent.

    The dissenfranchised designer exists – functions and problem solving are no longer enough. The designer see's a cultural capital contained in art and presents his ideas as limited addition, in a gallery setting. A lot of the design work championed by the press is the 'hype-scene' material that bounces the camera flashes in infinite directions. It's no different to Posh & Becks – I don't really care what outfit Victoria Beckham is wearing today, but weirdly I find myself looking when she's in the news for an attention grabbing glamourous showcase. Design is no different.

    Vulgarity in design is 'cool'. It's not that important, it will be different tomorrow, it makes the world rich and quirky in a self-expression of the designers' ego. Design as Art and Art as Design: the spectacle is certainly not the future, but its part of it I think.

  • Hello David;

    I've seen about in a article about you in NEO2 magazine, published in Spain, and i was clarified for me, read about vulgarism in design and your speaks Jaime Hayón works, this it's valiant to explain this affirmation, but in my student opinion, most of all designers made a differents works, a part of these are more non-design-yes-expression and other totally good design, every day designers must (and not designers only) plays to balance line works, betwen vulgarism, kistch, funcional, asepthic, porcelain or cardboard...anyway, finding a personal and work expression are for.

    its for me explain these concept clear, but i could define my opinion with this phrase:

    You could try made all components of a phone mobile in fine china, but you cant made a call, but express an idea

    Sincerely thanks for your work... i can learn more,


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Creative direction, trend insights.

Contact David Carlson
David Carlson / David Report

My Interests

  • Industrial Design
  • Environmental Design
  • Communication Design
  • Fashion Design
  • Audio/Visual Design