Is form and function all there is to design?

Charlie Luxton profiles husband and wife design team, Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby, who are challenging our preconceptions about the role of the designer.

What makes a great design? The perfect intersection between form and function? Historically, the role of the designer has been to solve a problem. But a husband and wife team working today are challenging preconceptions about the designer’s traditional function.

Anthony Dunne is professor and head of the Design Interactions programme at the Royal College of Art. Fiona Raby is professor of industrial design at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna and reader in Design Interactions at the RCA.

Together, they are world leaders in an alternative design movement which crosses the boundaries between sociology, architecture, science and politics, often asking more questions than it answers. Anthony Dunne described this movement in his 1999 book, Hertzian Tales, as ‘critical design’.

Challenging the concept that design must fulfil a purely functional and aesthetic purpose, Dunne and Raby instead create products which attempt to start a philosophical discussion.

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