What Is the State of Design Criticism?

Leading architecture and design critics ponder the future of their profession.

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A feature spread from the November, 1985 issue of Metropolis

Thirty years after Metropolis's first critics round table, today's influential voices weigh in on their role, and the future of criticism in the digital age.

Oliver Wainwright Sam Jacob Steve Parnell
Michael Abrahamson Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan Dan Hill
Justin Davidson Michael Sorkin Jonathan Glancey
Alexandra Lange Thomas DeMonchaux Allison Arieff
John King Véronique Vienne Alissa Walker
Jan Boelen Alice Twemlow Blair Kamin


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Aug 14, 2014 03:16 pm
 Posted by  Pengson

How in the world could this list of luminaries not include Pulitzer Prize winner Inga Saffron? Seems to me it doesn't just slight her but that we are being deprived of the insight, good sense and wisdom she brings to everything she writes. Harummph.

Aug 15, 2014 01:52 pm
 Posted by  Avinash R.

Inga Saffron has contributed to Metropolis many times, and recently commented on design in 2013 for our December issue: http://www.metropolismag.com/December-2013/The-Year-in-Review/

Aug 20, 2014 11:58 am
 Posted by  PhilMumford

"The Paola Antonelli effect" (VĂ©ronique Vienne) is a good way to sum up design criticism in 2014, wearing the fashion of enlightenment to camouflage the commercial dimension--a branding tool for gimmick culture.
Repeating themes here--the perpetual 'death of criticism', criticism should speak to more people and focus on people is hypocritical coming from the majority of these so-called critics, who are all guilty of spending their days retweeting the latest controversy think-piece du jour or designer bashing expose. New media is not the answer to all of our problems, just like "design" isn't the holy solution to all of technologies ills.
And yet, the only relevant criticism to happen in 2014 was Koolhaas's Fundamentals, which would have never been thought up by this bunch in a million years. Maybe the true critics are those that MAKE things.

Sep 4, 2014 12:25 am
 Posted by  gokhan_karakus

The state of design criticism is woeful if Metropolis Magazine only solicits opinions of "influential voices" that are limited to a bunch of folks in Northeast USA, UK and a few token northern Europeans implying that design criticism and hence design doesn't happen in the rest of the world.Get a clue Metropolis, there is a bigger world out there.

Sep 6, 2014 01:35 pm
 Posted by  SeanAsh

The state of design criticism is all politics, little design.
Sadly, DC died in 2008 with the rest of the economy.
Now all we get is linkbait, PR in disguise, and political charged and patronizing articles.....
The design critics today are just NYC housewives who didn't want to put in the effort of becoming a real designer, and are now reborn as "Feminists" because they want to talk about themselves.

I saw a recent issue of Metropolis, on the cover was a list of random "worldly" cities. You could have replaced the title with, "Exotic Vacation Destinations." Dwell, Metropolis, NYTimes, all liberal trash.

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