Q&A: Murray Moss

Murray Moss  - founder of the internationally renowned Moss design store and design consultancy Moss Bureau - interviewed with us as a preview to his upcoming lecture at NYSID. His views of today's innovations in design and what he thinks the future has in store will be the evening's conversation topic with NYSID faculty member and historian Judith Gura on September 18, 2013.

Your talk on September 18 is on “new directions in design and design/art.” Since you have been called "America's most closely watched purveyor of industrial design," just what does the future of industrial design look like to you?
MM: Well, first of all, the definition of 'industrial' will be dramatically altered, as we are in the middle of an Industrial Revolution 2.0. By this, I refer to digital technologies which will increasingly be more inserted into the industrial process (as we now know it) or, in fact, replace traditional industrial processes all together. Digital technologies have already redefined the 'design process'; soon they will have redefined the 'production process' as well. I refer specifically to what is now termed Additive Manufacturing (3-D printing) and Subtractive Manufacturing (i.e. laser cutters). 

However, let me stress that what might be termed 'low tech' production processes, such as those employed by studios such as Eindhoven-based Studio Formafantasma, will develop in parallel to digital processes. There is a new fascination with 'growing' products, or materials which become products! This 'growing' will be done, simultaneously, digitally, through use of mathematical algorithms, and also simply in the dirt!

With Moss and Moss Bureau, you are known for creating “what’s next” by commissioning work. Where and how do you personally find inspiration that leads to the creation of new objects, perhaps objects no designer alone has thought of?
MM: I find as I get older I am a good 'foil', a good 'devil's advocate', so wherever and whenever possible I engage artists, designers, and producers in conversation. I look less and less at 'resolved' product (for example, trade show offerings), and try to spend more time in manufactories and in design studios. I ask lots of questions, and in return I receive some surprising answers, which give me ideas.

As a child, a sculpture of Mozart on a piano inspired you to play. What famed designer from the past would you like to spend an hour with to get inspired by?
MM: Leonardo da Vinci, 'designer' of the helicopter, moveable scaffolding, and the heart valve, but also a painter, sculptor, architect, musician, mathematician, engineer, anatomist, geologist, etc.

What would be your current short list of the top 5 under-the-radar designers to watch in the next 5 years?
MM: Paul Cocksedge; Marc Fornes; Oki Sato (Nendo); Studio Formafantasma (Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin); and Inez van Herpen (fashion). 

Phyllis Greer