Author Archive


it's about time

A couple of years back, when we were discussing our theme It’s About Time on a sunny summer’s day in Lisbon, we went out for a walk and saw this woman making bracelets for tourists. She would typically weave the name of a person into the fabric and we thought, why not use this nice little crafty thing as our sign of commitment to our cause? So, while others show their engagement with bland plastic red, yellow or green bracelets, we combine all of these colors. We’re for all good causes – It’s about time! ;-)


ExperimentaDesign Lisboa/Amsterdam is challenging editors of leading design, architecture and lifestyle magazines from around the world to take part in a project that aims to foster insightful design criticism today.

The need for thorough design criticism exists beyond academia. Designers and their audience profit from critical analysis that surpasses mere journalistic reporting. We need not only to know what’s out there, but also want to ask why? The current obsession with discovering the latest product, showcasing the freshest talent, reviewing the next event, and highlighting the newest buildings demonstrates that magazines often race for previews instead of reviews, and for short paragraphs instead of the big picture. Serious criticism, which looks beyond the product and the producer to the cultural contexts for which design is essentially made, is under pressure.

We invite editors and critics within the cultural and design field to do two things: first help us in developing shared criteria for in-depth design critique, and second to apply these criteria to identify subjects in need of scrutiny and formulate clear briefs for authors.

This blog will mainly serve the first purpose: to discuss what we consider good design criticism and to sharpen our criteria. Ideally, the discussions here should result in a series of state-of-the-art essays which together will provide a benchmark for current design criticism. We invite editors to publish their contribution to this discourse in the September issues of their magazines, and will collect the essays into a book which will be published at a later date.

During the opening week of EXD09 – It’s About Time, we will organize a special event in which the participating magazines will present or preview their issues containing the Stop&Think essays, and publicly discuss the reasons for joining our project.

Please post your commentary and ideas on design criticism as comments to this post!


This blog is named after the theme of the forthcoming edition of ExperimentaDesign Lisboa 2009, taking place in the Portuguese capital from 9 September till 8 November 2009It serves the purpose of providing the biennale’s curators and collaborators with an on-line platform to develop their ideas and share their findings. And we invite the audience at large to contribute to the evolving debates around the Biennale’s theme and program.

We intend this blog as an easily accessible democratic platform for an international community concerned with design’s urgent topics and challenges. So that means you too, dear reader. Please do not hesitate to share your opinions with us and don’t spare us your critique.