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by Jason Brush
The predominant aesthetic of user interface design since its advent reflects the ethos of modernist, Bauhaus-inspired architecture and design, shunning decorative adornment in favour of aesthetics determined by utile function. Meanwhile, many leading architects have moved past the principles that guided the seminal architecture of the modernist era — and still inspire interface design — to embrace aesthetic goals outside pure functional form; today's most influential, progressive buildings are complex structures that balance individualistic, conceptual and expressive goals with their functional purpose. Among the notable architects whose practice breaks with the conventions of modernism is Pritzker-winner Zaha Hadid. Her work — such as BMW's headquarters and the Guangzhou Opera House— is marked by a sophisticated connection between her buildings and their surrounding environment, often resulting in dramatic, fluid, organic forms that break from the functional simplicity of modernism.
This talk is an inspiring survey of Hadid's architecture practice from the perspective of the interaction designer, and uses her work to ask some key questions about the status quo of today's design aesthetic for interaction and what the future may bring: can interaction design evolve to achieve the types radical forms seen in Hadid's architecture? If not, why not, and is this a good or bad thing? If so, how so, and what obstacles do interaction designers face? What parallels between architecture and interface design are apropos, and which are not? What inspiring lessons can interaction designers take from Hadid's work to inform the evolution of their craft?
1st–4th February 2012