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Like this article? We recommend (c)Style Makes Life

Style Makes Life

What, then, is the relationship between form, function, and style? Style is nothing more than a way of doing something. For a designer, style is a way of making that produces a particular set of forms. Fresh styles produce fresh forms. And if function follows form as readily as form follows function, then fresh functions follow fresh forms (say that fast five times). According to this line of reasoning, the business of experimental design is no less than the modification of human function.

There is a wrongheaded idea that "style" is simply a minor surface embellishment that has nothing to do with function. In reality, style doesn't merely embellish life; style makes life. Designer Bruce Mau elaborates: [2]

Life doesn't simply happen to us; we produce it. That's what style is. It's producing life. Rather than accepting that life is something that we passively receive, accept, or endure, I believe that life is something we generate…. Style is a decision about how we live. Style is not superficial. It is a philosophical project of the deepest order.

With our world and our media changing so rapidly, we can no longer afford to be too closely wed to any single, dogmatic design approach. In this climate of change, experimental design becomes a lot more "practical" than its conservative detractors originally thought. If the best way to predict the future is to invent it, then design styles invent the forms that make the future.

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