I think that what designers will do in the future is to become the reference point for policy-makers, for anybody who wants to create a link between something that is highfalutin and hard to translate, and reality and people. And I almost envisage them as becoming the intellectuals of the future.
Antonelli’s statement may at first appear safe, merely hypothetical—but what comes next leaves no doubt about her vision about the place of designers in society:
I always find it really funny—the French, whenever they have to talk about the price of gas, or the cheese war with Italy, they go to a philosopher, right? This is kind of hilarious, no? Philosophers are the culture generators in France. I want designers to be the culture generators pretty much all over the world!
Transcript from an interview in the documentary by Gary Hustwit, Objectified (2009). Paola Antonelli is a Senior Curator of Architecture & Design, as well as Director of Research & Development at the MoMA. ↩︎