Editor’s Letter | The Beef Between Art and Design | September 2017

letter from the editor
Photo: Michèle Pauty

Art and design are at the center of a semantic battle. Design can serve the purpose of making things attractive, easy to use, evocative, or simply functional. But unlike fine art, with design, there’s a mission, a problem to be solved. Some in the fine art community look down on design as a lesser form of expression; not free enough to be real art.

Historically speaking this is of course absurd. There has been plenty of very meaningful art created on commission, from Michaelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling to Picasso’s Guernica to Keith Haring’s mural Crack is Wack. For most of human history, artists were craftsmen, realizers of the visions of their patrons.

Let’s test this in the creative world of today: Do you know the name of the guy who designed the first iPhone? Neither do I, but I know who Steve Jobs is.

In Vienna, design is tied into the city’s artistic identity. Whether in the Jugendstil buildings by Otto Wagner, the Thonet chair you see on our cover, the details on Otto Neurath or in the intricate stitches on a dress by Susanne Biskovsky, the city honors its designer sons and daughters. With the popularity of the contemporary art scene on a steady rise, September in Vienna has become centered around design and creative culture.

If you’re looking to enhance your home décor with some Austrian design pieces, we’ve compiled a few ideas for you in our How To. We also spoke to Christoph Thun-Hohenstein about the current Neo-Biedermeier age and how to design digital humanism and visited the Austrian design company Wideshot, which has created some out-of-this-world design for Hollywood.

Our On the Town pages are packed with art, theater, comedy, film and music to keep you busy for several Septembers. Discover Vienna’s best shops and our Events calendar, curated especially for non-German speakers.

Form doesn’t always follow function, but when it does it’s especially satisfying. Let’s be thankful for good designers, appreciate them and when you have the pleasure of meeting one in the flesh, remember,

Don’t be a stranger,

Margaret Childs
Margaret (Maggie) Childs is the CEO and Publisher of METROPOLE. Originally from New York, Vienna has been her home since high school. She is known for non-stop enthusiasm, talking too fast, inhaling coffee and being a board member of AustrianStartups, where she helps entrepreneurs internationalize. Follow her on Instagram @maggie_childs and twitter @mtmchilds.

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