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 Architecture and Design and, as of 2012, the museum's first ever director of research and development. She 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 between design and science; "Talk to Me," which looked at design and the communication of people and objects; "Items: Is Fashion Modern?" which highlighted the 111 items of clothing that had a strong impact on the world in the past 120 years (including the hoodie); and "Broken Nature: Design Takes on Human Survival", introducing the concept of "restorative design."

In 2010, Antonelli anointed the @ symbol  into the Museum's permanent collection and, in 2012, she led a move to acquire 21 video games. Her goal is to insistently promote design’s understanding, until its positive influence on the world is fully acknowledged.

Paola Antonelli’s TED talks

More news and ideas from Paola Antonelli


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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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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