playlist

Legends of the design world

Some of history's greatest designers share intriguing perspectives and vignettes from their prolific journeys.

  1. 15:03
    Renzo Piano The genius behind some of the world's most famous buildings

    Legendary architect Renzo Piano — the mind behind such indelible buildings as The Shard in London, the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the new Whitney Museum of Art in New York City — takes us on a stunning tour through his life's work. With the aid of gorgeous imagery, Piano makes an eloquent case for architecture as the answer to our dreams, aspirations and desire for beauty. "Universal beauty is one of the few things that can change the world," he says. "This beauty will save the world. One person at a time, but it will do it."

  2. 17:06
    Philippe Starck Design and destiny

    Designer Philippe Starck — with no pretty slides to show — spends 18 minutes reaching for the very roots of the question "Why design?" Listen carefully for one perfect mantra for all of us, genius or not.

  3. 11:44
    Alice Rawsthorn Pirates, nurses and other rebel designers

    In this ode to design renegades, Alice Rawsthorn highlights the work of unlikely heroes, from Blackbeard to Florence Nightingale. Drawing a line from these bold thinkers to some early modern visionaries like Buckminster Fuller, Rawsthorn shows how the greatest designers are often the most rebellious.

  4. 18:42
    Paola Antonelli Why I brought Pac-Man to MoMA

    When the Museum of Modern Art's senior curator of architecture and design announced the acquisition of 14 video games in 2012, "all hell broke loose." In this far-ranging, entertaining, and deeply insightful talk, Paola Antonelli explains why she's delighted to challenge preconceived ideas about art and galleries, and describes her burning wish to help establish a broader understanding of design.

  5. 16:52
    Thomas Heatherwick Building the Seed Cathedral

    A future more beautiful? Architect Thomas Heatherwick shows five recent projects featuring ingenious bio-inspired designs. Some are remakes of the ordinary: a bus, a bridge, a power station ... And one is an extraordinary pavilion, the Seed Cathedral, a celebration of growth and light.

  6. 21:56
    Paula Scher Great design is serious, not solemn

    Paula Scher looks back at a life in design (she's done album covers, books, the Citibank logo ...) and pinpoints the moment when she started really having fun. Look for gorgeous designs and images from her legendary career.

  7. 18:05
    Marc Kushner Why the buildings of the future will be shaped by ... you

    "Architecture is not about math or zoning — it's about visceral emotions," says Marc Kushner. In a sweeping — often funny — talk, he zooms through the past thirty years of architecture to show how the public, once disconnected, have become an essential part of the design process. With the help of social media, feedback reaches architects years before a building is even created. The result? Architecture that will do more for us than ever before.

  8. 15:38
    Michael Murphy Architecture that's built to heal

    Architecture is more than a clever arrangement of bricks. In this eloquent talk, Michael Murphy shows how he and his team look far beyond the blueprint when they're designing. Considering factors from airflow to light, theirs is a holistic approach that produces community as well as (beautiful) buildings. He takes us on a tour of projects in countries such as Rwanda and Haiti, and reveals a moving, ambitious plan for The Memorial to Peace and Justice, which he hopes will heal hearts in the American South.

  9. 15:30
    Stefan Sagmeister Happiness by design

    Graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister takes the audience on a whimsical journey through moments of his life that made him happy — and notes how many of these moments have to do with good design.

  10. 15:59
    John Maeda Designing for simplicity

    The MIT Media Lab's John Maeda lives at the intersection of technology and art, a place that can get very complicated. Here he talks about paring down to basics.

  11. 17:43
    Yves Behar Designing objects that tell stories

    Designer Yves Behar digs up his creative roots to discuss some of the iconic objects he's created (the Leaf lamp, the Jawbone headset). Then he turns to the witty, surprising, elegant objects he's working on now — including the "$100 laptop."

  12. 18:09
    Eva Zeisel The playful search for beauty

    The ceramics designer Eva Zeisel looks back on a 75-year career. What keeps her work as fresh today (her latest line debuted in 2008) as in 1926? Her sense of play and beauty, and her drive for adventure. Listen for stories from a rich, colorful life.

  13. 15:08
    Eames Demetrios The design genius of Charles + Ray Eames

    The legendary design team Charles and Ray Eames made films, houses and classic midcentury modern furniture. Eames Demetrios, their grandson, shows rarely seen films and archival footage in a lively, loving tribute to their creative process.

  14. 15:14
    Milton Glaser Using design to make ideas new

    From the TED archives: The legendary graphic designer Milton Glaser dives deep into a new painting inspired by Piero della Francesca. From here, he muses on what makes a convincing poster, by breaking down an idea and making it new.

  15. 16:28
    Marian Bantjes Intricate beauty by design

    In graphic design, Marian Bantjes says, throwing your individuality into a project is heresy. She explains how she built her career doing just that, bringing her signature delicate illustrations to storefronts, valentines and even genetic diagrams.

  16. 17:20
    Niels Diffrient Rethinking the way we sit down

    Design legend Niels Diffrient talks about his life in industrial design (and the reason he became a designer instead of a jet pilot). He details his quest to completely rethink the office chair starting from one fundamental data set: the human body.

  17. 22:39
    David Carson Design and discovery

    Great design is a never-ending journey of discovery — for which it helps to pack a healthy sense of humor. Sociologist and surfer-turned-designer David Carson walks through a gorgeous (and often quite funny) slide deck of his work and found images.

  18. 16:41
    Tony Fadell The first secret of design is ... noticing

    As human beings, we get used to "the way things are" really fast. But for designers, the way things are is an opportunity ... Could things be better? How? In this funny, breezy talk, the man behind the iPod and the Nest thermostat shares some of his tips for noticing — and driving — change.