Paola Antonelli is on a mission to introduce — and explain — design to the world. With her shows at New York's Museum of Modern Art, she celebrates design's presence in every part of life.

Why you should listen

Since she stepped back from practicing architecture in order to focus on writing about design, teaching and curating gallery exhibitions, Italian native Paola Antonelli has become a force to be reckoned with in the design world. Working at the Museum of Modern Art in New York since 1994, she is senior curator of the gallery's Architecture and Design department and, as of 2012, the museum's first ever director of research and development. Antonelli has worked on shows such as "Humble Masterpieces," which celebrated traditionally unheralded design icons such as the paperclip; "Design and the Elastic Mind," considering the relationship of design and technology, and "Talk to Me ," which looked at design and the communication of people and objects.

Ever mindful that the majority of visitors to MOMA are attracted by artists such as Picasso and Matisse, Antonelli works to ensure that if they do stumble across a design-related show, they'll be both entertained and enlightened. In 2012, she led a move to acquire 14 video games for the museum's permanent collection.

What others say

“Paola Antonelli’s goal is to insistently promote design’s understanding, until its positive influence on the world is fully acknowledged.” — World Technology Network

Paola Antonelli’s TED talks

Paola Antonelli on the TED Blog
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Design

New playlist: Design giants

May 28, 2013

Happy Tuesday! Enjoy a bonus binge this week: a playlist about design. “Design giants” contains 13 talks by iconic modern designers. Hear from Philippe Starck, who asks, “Why design?” … Stefan Sagmeister on how design helped him find happiness … Eames Demetrios on his grandparents’ legendary work … and today’s talk, Paola Antonelli, on how […]

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Design

An in-office TED all about design

May 17, 2013

Whether we’re conscious of it or not, design affects us in hundreds — if not thousands of ways — each day. Just think back to your morning. A designer made the decisions that went into the craftsmanship of your bed, your futon, your mattress. A designer determined the form and materials of your toothbrush, your […]

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Design

Paola Antonelli's new column for SEED

March 9, 2009

Paola Antonelli is the design curator at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, and a two-time TEDTalks star, with her TED2007 talk “Treating design as art” and her EG’07 talk “Design and the elastic mind,” a preview to the 2008 MOMA show of the same name. Today, SEED magazine premieres her next venture, a monthly […]

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Quotes from Paola Antonelli

As we become more and more wireless and impalpable, designers, instead, want us to be hands-on.
Paola Antonelli
TED2007 • 482K views Jan 2008
Informative, Inspiring
Designers need to be mavericks, because the best way to design a successful object is to pretend that either it never existed or that people will be able to have a new behavior with it.
Paola Antonelli
TED2007 • 482K views Jan 2008
Informative, Inspiring