Design brought on to agenda at Davos

Design, Devon, London

It’s great that design has a voice at Davos this week. What with President Obama currently being lobbied for a Secretary for Arts & Culture (it’s hard to believe the US don’t already have this) maybe 2009 will be the year design finally gets the opportunity to flex it’s vocal chords.

But what is good design? At Davos, design critic and former Design Museum director Alice Rawsthorn will be curating two debates focused on design. The members of the panel will present one example of good design and one of bad design and discuss the reasons for their selection. Industrial designer Yves Béhar, founder of Fuse Project says he will compare two cars, the Hummer and the Smart car. He describes both models as ‘iconic’, but says the Hummer has ‘little insight into a changing world’.

However, I wonder if he’s been to Harrods recently. They have the coolest Hummer I’ve ever seen in the sports department. It runs on electricity, costs a little over £11K and has a range of around 70 miles on one charge. To me it’s a cross between the original Jeep but with that iconic Hummer grille. To the Americans it’s a golf cart. As I live in rural Devon I thought it might finally give me the upper hand over the farm tractors and sheep towing quad bikes that regularly stuff you into the Devon banks at speed.

Sadly Mrs E. hustled me out of there pronto when she saw me so glassy eyed and slack jawed…I dare not tell the kids or it could be a very expensive Christmas ’09.

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