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10 great quotes about design

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A look at the Target Design Café at TED2014, with the North Shore Mountains in the background. Photo: Bret Hartman

For years now, Target has invited designers like Isaac Mizrahi (watch his TED Talk), Diane von Furstenberg (check out her TED playlist) and, most recently, abstract pattern-master Peter Pilotto to dream up collections. So when it came to creating the Target Design Café at TED2014, we knew it was going to be cool. The space features three enormous white barrels with plush red interiors that are perfect for lounging. Also in the space: a robotic arm composing quotes coming from the mainstage, graphologists analyzing attendees’ handwriting, and artist Daniel Duffy’s live action portraits of  TED2014 speakers.

Our favorite feature in the space is a simple one. On the cloth strips that cascade in a canopy over it all, there is writing. Here, Target has printed quotes from TED Talks about design. Below, 10 of the quotes that we find especially inspiring. But there are hundreds more up there. So if you’re onsite, stop by and pick your favorite.

“You could look at nature as being like a catalog of products, and all of those have benefited from a 3.8-billion-year research and development period.” — Michael Pawlyn

“The best way to accomplish serious design … is to be totally and completely unqualified for the job.” — Paula Scher

“Design [is] the emerging ethos formulating and then answering a very new question: What shall we do now, in the face of the chaos that we have created?”— John Hockenberry

“If anybody here has trouble with the concept of design humility, reflect on this: It took us 5,000 years to put wheels on our luggage.” — William McDonough

“Style makes you feel great because it takes your mind off the fact that you’re going to die.” — Isaac Mizrahi

“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.” — Paola Antonelli

“[Designs] have a moral component just in the vision of ‘the good life’ that they present to us.”— Sebastian Deterding

“My idea of a perfect world really can’t be designed by one person or even by a million experts. It’s going to be seven billion pairs of hands, each following their own passions.” — Jay Silver

“When people say, ‘I don’t get art’ … that means art is working.” — John Maeda

“As an architect you design for the present, with an awareness of the past, for a future which is essentially unknown.” — Norman Foster

Read all TED Quotes on design »

A close-up look at these quotes. Photo: Bret Hartman

A close-up look at these quotes. Photo: Bret Hartman

An attendee enjoys the space. Photo: Bret Hartman

An attendee enjoys the space. Photo: Bret Hartman

A look at that robotic arm. Photo: Bret Hartman

A look at that robotic arm. Photo: Bret Hartman