in Business Design

If you can find some craftsmen I’ll hire them

Just finished ready Tom Wolfe’s From Bauhaus to Our House, a wonderful, powerful critique of modern architecture. At one point he describes how the International Style was killing demand for craftmanship, replacing Beaux-Arts architecture with glass boxes.

…to those who complained that International Style buildings were cramped, had flimsy walls inside as well as out, and, in general, looked cheap, the knowing response was: “These days it’s too expensive to build in any other style.” But it was not too expensive, merely more expensive. The critical point was what people would or would not put up with aesthetically.

We can see parallels today in design. Once a product has been Wal-Mart’ed, people feel it should be had inexpensively. It requires reinventing the product (e.g. Oxo) to change people’s minds.

I have to wonder if the same will be true with relocated design and development (the term offshored doesn’t seem appropriate, since so much of it is enabled by place-less telecommunications). Will those that craft a visual design, that believe code is poetry, go the way of the bronzeurs, marble workers, and model makers once that work is made permanently inexpensive?