Archis 2005 #6

Power to the Client

— by

The world is changing, so what else is new? Not so much. Transformations of our daily life, our immediate environment, and even the more abstract dimensions of our existence such as working conditions, social contexts and frames of references are relentlessly molded to accommodate and facilitate the forces of modernization. This may sound thrilling, but the process has become simply another kind of historical routine. For a long time, sociologists have probed and explored this notion of change, trying to define its axioms. Politicians have fought over its direction. Scientists have pursued the knowledge and technology necessary to drive it. Modernity, the shock of the new, is no longer new itself. Destiny is on autopilot, and nobody is questioning the driver. The new doesn’t break through, it just breaks, time and again. The imperative question is if we can envision any other way to unfold our future. Is there an alternative to ‘progress’, or for that matter, change? Perhaps the best way to gain insight into the answer is to focus on that modality that makes change visible and tangible.

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These observations were made in the aftermath of the New Years debate on January 6th, organized by Premsela, Dutch Design Foundation and volume magazine in Amsterdam. The three invited clients were: Marko Athisaari, Director of Design Strategy at Nokia, Rudy Stroink, director of tcn Property Projects, and Joffrey Walonker, product development manager at Royal vkb. The debate on the Power of the Client took place in the Scheepvaartmuseum Amsterdam.