design for the other 90%

The New York Times carries a brief review of a show at the Cooper-Hewitt, "Design for the Other 90%," which the Times refigures as "Design for the World's Poor." To be fair, I haven't seen the show, but the web site generally corroborates the Times review. Both suggest that the focus is on how designers can help the world's poor. I realize that the Cooper-Hewitt is the National Design Museum and, by its very mission, has to maintain an inordinate faith in the capacities of design (take a visit to their online store for another view), but I wonder where the Architecture Without Architects of this kind of culture is? Where is a show on the kind of work being shown on Afrigadget? Not to knock the well-meaning efforts of designers (I'd rather they design for the developing world than for the museum store) but I'd rather see a common ground established between the kind of things in Make Magazine and Afrigadget than to hear yet again about how first world ingenuity solves third world problems.

But again, I haven't seen the show and perhaps I am just being led astray.

Read more