The Playful Search for Beauty by Eva Zeisel
This is a difficult TED talk to listen too, Eva rambles quite a lot and doesn't get enough time to actually come to her point. However, I loved the idea of novelty being a concept of commerce rather then one of aesthetics. I've transcribed the relevant section of the talk below, but it's still quite rambling and difficult:
I call myself a maker of things. I don't call myself an industrial designer, because among other things industrial designers want to make novel things. Novelty is a concept of commerce, not an aesthetic concept. The industrial design magazine I believe is called “Innovation”. Innovation is not part of the aim of my work. Well, makers of things, we make things more beautiful, more elegant, more comfortable than just a craftsman do. I have so much to say I have to think about what I am going to say. Well to describe our profession otherwise we are actually concerned with the playful search for beauty. That means the playful search for beauty was called the first activity of man. […] who was a mathematic professor at MIT wrote that “the playful search for beauty was mans first activity. That all useful qualities and all material qualities were developed from the playful search for beauty”. These are times. The word playful is a necessary aspect of our work. Because actually one of our problems is that we have to make lovely things throughout all of life, and this for me is now 75 years. So how can you, without drying up, make things with the same pleasure as a gift to others … for so long. The word playful is therefor an important part of our quality as a designer.