Monday, 5 September 2011

100 Words

Looking for some part-time, freelance work recently, I applied for a job as a design researcher, which apparently involved surfing the interweb for examples of good interior design and compiling them in a list, for a couple of days a week. In a strange sort of phone interview one evening, (after I had sent my CV and cover letter 3 times!) the prospective employer expressed his doubts that I could do the job, considering that I have no qualifications in design or architecture. He wanted 100 words back to him that same evening on why I would be a perfect candidate.

Well, okay.  It's true, I'm not really a 'designer' although I can surf around the interweb and compile lists in my sleep.  As far as I can see, much of what passes for 'interior design' is really just fashion.  The same size and shape of sofa in the same place in the room, with the same size and shape of cushions, but this year we're wearing, as it might be, contrasting stripes of Telephone Black and White White*.  (Oh, you noticed those slashes of red across the wall? Yes, it does look like arterial spray, but actually our painter had a bit of a tantrum when we changed our mind from the original palette of Cornish Cream, Strawberry and Bitter Chocolate.  It's such a talking point, we decided to leave it.  No, unfortunately, I can't give you his number - he's disappeared.)

Good design does have some rules, so inspired by Dieter Rams' 10 Principles for Good Design, and some thoughts of my own, I put together a paragraph relating elements of good design to my own characteristics.  I was so pleased with this piece of creative writing, I thought I would record it for posterity:

  • I am useful, practical, easy to understand, unpretentious and honest; what you see is what you get.  I am beautiful in my own way, and at 50 years old, quite durable and long-lasting.  I am conscientious, accurate and thorough; details are important.  I can stand alone to make a statement or work alongside others, blending in harmoniously and unobtrusively.  I can be functional and innovative to provide good solutions.  Interested in wildlife conservation, I am environmentally friendly.  I dance, combining space, flow and rhythm.  I transcend changing tastes and fashions.  I am an example of good design.  Pure and simple.

I didn't get a reply.  After a week or so, I called back.  He was relieved that I wasn't one of his sponsors calling him, but when I reminded him I had applied for the job, he said he didn't remember me at all.  I left it at that.  Some things aren't meant to be; I think I might have had a lucky escape.

* Flanders and Swann: 'Design for Living', which you can listen to here (starts at about 6 minutes). And, like so many of their songs, as true now as it was then.

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