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A post-capitalist vision of design: happiness, not sales

Many of us see design as a luxury, elitist or something to drive sales. That, according to Spanish architect Juli Capella, is a dangerous mistake, not just for your personal happiness, but for the health of the planet. “Design is what has destroyed the planet, but the good news is that it’s the discipline that will save the planet.”

Design, for Capella, is everywhere, in every object made by man: not just clothes and buildings, but everyday tools like chairs and cars. By recognizing its ubiquity, we recognize its power for change, both positive and negative.

One of the first hurdles we need to overcome toward accepting design as a change factor is re-learning what it is. For Capella, it’s crucial that “we first understand design in another way, not the way it is taught by capitalism, that design is styling: how to sell more, how to trick people”.

In this video, Capella explains his vision for his discipline and shows us some of his favorite designs, from a Mediterranean drinking jug to the famous flower pattern on the sidewalks of Barcelona.

We also have a video where Capella describes his vision for the future of stuff (more service, less material), a second look at Slow Design, and the paradox of green building.