Interview: Deyan Sudjic on why design matters ahead of 2014 Edinburgh International Book Festival appearance

Director of Design Museum in London talks accents and identity

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This article is from 2014.

Interview: Deyan Sudjic on why design matters ahead of 2014 Edinburgh International Book Festival appearance

‘Design isn’t an artform. It’s not about looks; it’s about meaning, it’s a way of understanding the world around us.’ Deyan Sudjic should know. Director of the Design Museum in London, he published B is for Bauhaus earlier this year, his personal A-Z of design theory and design classics. Hitchcock’s film sets, Warhol’s ‘genuine fakes’, Sudjic’s own favourite fishtail parka jacket – they’re all in there, alongside the former University of Edinburgh student’s observations on national identity (Sudjic studied architecture at Edinburgh, and once edited the student newspaper when Gordon Brown was news editor.)

‘I was once asked [while he was director of Glasgow’s Year of Architecture and Design programme] if I’d ever experienced racial prejudice as “a prominent Englishman, working in Scotland”,’ explains Sudjic, paraphrasing a chapter of his book titled, ‘N is for National Identity’.

‘That struck me as interesting. Was I being told I didn’t belong? My parents spoke Serbo-Croat at home, but my accent, the product of a constant diet of the BBC Home Service as a child, meant I was considered English. Accents, like passports and banknotes, all make up identity. To me, they are all design features. That’s one of many reasons why design matters.’

Charlotte Square Gardens, 0845 373 5888, 12 Aug, 7pm, £10 (£8).

This article is from 2014.

Deyan Sudjic

As director of the Design Museum and one of a handful of Britons to direct the Venice Architecture Biennale, Deyan Sudjic has lived and breathed architecture and design for over forty years. Sudjic’s new book, B is for Bauhaus, surveys why design has played a vital role in his own life and its influence in shaping the…

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