Reading design 15.10.15

Written by 


While there has long been a vast archive of critical writing about architecture, design in general has been somewhat neglected – until now. Icon contributor Edwin Heathcote explains his latest project

Coming from architecture you get used to the idea that there is a huge body of writing, of theory and criticism lurking in the background. But what about design? There is a lot of writing about design – much of it very fine – including here at Icon and elsewhere. But it is mostly driven by news and events, it is topical, fast-moving, driven by fashion.

The internet has hugely accelerated the rate of the cycle and churn. But it doesn’t leave much space or time for contemplation. As a journalist or a critic I’m always struggling against space. Only so many words, yet there’s always a little more to say.

Reading Design is about that space, the gap between news and books. The web is not short of space – it is infinite space. This is an attempt to create a free, constantly expanding archive of the finest, the most provocative, the most unusual and the most compelling writing on design from the last couple of centuries. To use the capacity of the web to resurrect texts that have been lost in libraries, in long defunct magazines or at the bottom of drawers but also which occupy the quieter corners of cyberspace.

The idea is to create a place online where a reader can return to dip into texts on design from architecture to fashion via product and graphics, perhaps pick up unexpected things, flitting between one field and another, being surprised, provoked, stimulated.

Reading Design is, in a way, an antidote to the speed and superficiality with which we increasingly engage with the screen, with images and with text reduced to captions. We hope it will become a stable reliable resource where historic and contemporary writing can be accessed for free at any time, where the most brilliant and incisive texts can coexist with failed manifestoes and unrealised utopian dreams and where there will always be something on design worth reading.



Edwin Heathcote

Leave a comment

Click to show