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Cafe musings - The value of good design

The creative process of design has many influences. One of the most powerful comes from our experiences that are somehow contained as memories in our psyche. How these memories are drawn upon to create a concept remains something of a mystery, however it is clear they do play a role in the decision making process.

"Designers and architects are optimists," says Brandon Gien, chief executive of Good Design Australia who organise the annual awards. "We look at design as a way of creating a better future. "We're living in a volatile, topsy-turvy world. If we are going to provide a better future for our planet, it requires imagination. Design is one of the ways we can make it happen."

Design can be a very pragmatic process, yet there is always an element of mystery in elevating a design to something that is considered good. People’s opinions of what constitutes good can vary greatly, however there is now a general consensus that good design in the built environment can be defined, even to the point that it has been included as an objective in the NSW Environment and Planning Assessment Act “(g) to promote good design and the amenity of the built environment”.

The Office of the Government Architect and the Department of Planning have produced a policy called Better Placed to help assess Good Design.

“Good design is not just how a place looks, but how it works and feels for people. Good design creates better places that in turn maximise public value and contribute to the wellbeing of individuals and the community. Achieving better places relies on the energy and contributions of many people from different walks of life and with different expertise.

Evaluating projects against the Better Placed design objectives will provide a holistic understanding of the components that make up good design.”

The seven criteria in the Better Places Policy could apply to every form of design, from the Built Environment to Interiors, Furniture and Lighting. The No. 18 Thonet Chair was designed by Austrian Michael Thonet in 1859. I absolutely love this chair and am so pleased to be specifying it for a current project. I am interested in timeless design, at every level. Spaces that are not just beautifull and feel good for now but will adapt over time.

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