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.
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.
“As we become more and more wireless and impalpable, designers, instead, want us to be hands-on.”
“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.”
“Heaven is satisfied curiosity.”
“Small objects, like the Walkman first and then the iPod, create bubbles of space around us that enable us to have a metaphysical space that is much bigger than our physical space.”
“The idea of being able to build things bottom up, atom by atom, has made [scientists] all into tinkerers. And all of a sudden scientists are seeking designers, just like designers are seeking scientists.”
“I want people to understand that design is so much more than cute chairs — that it is first and foremost everything that is around us in our life.”
“We live today not in the digital, not in the physical, but in the kind of minestrone that our mind makes of the two.”