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The future of design is a broad and slippery subject, one examined number of designers and critics at the recent Alvar Aalto Design Seminar in Jyväskylä, Finland.

“With a distinct focus on product and furniture design – as befitting to the festival’s namesake, Finnish architect, Artek-founder and furniture designer Aalto – it’s interesting to see that the overarching conclusion is that design is moving away from creating ‘stuff’, to creating solutions. […]

Stephen Burks, industrial designer and founder of studio Readymade Projects, draws a definite distinction between the 20th and 21st Century attitudes to objects and design, and as such, the emerging new role of the designer.

In the 21st Century, says Burks, the designer’s role is as collaborator and conduit – as ‘stuff’ becomes less important to people the designer is increasingly someone who finds solutions to problems with less tangible end results than someone who creates physical things.”