| JEFFREY BROWN: It's interesting to
me, because here we are looking at these very interesting, well-designed products.
I think about the things around me most of the time. They don't seem that well
designed. They don't seem, they seem ugly often.|
CRAIG MILLER: They are,
and you know one of the things too, I think it's, that's so important about this
show, is that it appeals to children, it appeals to the average consumer, and
it appeals to the professional. And you know a child walks in and simply just
gets it by osmosis.
You know, a professional would walk in and say, oh, I understand
the difference between, you know, is it plastic in this sunglass and titanium
in that one, and they understand the molding process and how it was done with
a computer, and all the technicalities of it. But it's an amazing thing. I think
people often underestimate the average American museum visitor. They have a sense
of quality. It, these objects speak to them.
JEFFREY BROWN: But put
the visitor, the museum visitor side, what about the average American consumer?
Are they underestimated or are they spoken to?
CRAIG MILLER: I think
they're underestimated very often, and I think people aren't given the choice
so often of being able to choose between something that's really beautifully designed.
I think that's why somewhere like Target is so important now. Here is a
major department store chain that yes, they have a lot of bread and butter products
in their store, but they're also hiring people like a Michael Graves or Philippe
Star and they're creating beautifully designed objects that are very affordable
and people, when they have a chance, when they walk into the kitchenware section,
and they can choose a Michael Graves garlic press, or they can choose 5 others,
they're choosing the Michael Graves. They might pay $1 more to get the Michael
Graves one. So I think that, that's a wonderful lesson to be learned here.
JEFFREY BROWN: Someone told us that uh, the most popular Michael Graves product
for Target is the toilet brush.
CRAIG MILLER: Michael said, I think
it sells like 6,000 a week or something, which is phenomenal. But that's great.
I actually have one of them in my apartment you know, and uh, I periodically just
sort of walk through Target just to see what new things are out.
BROWN: Do you?
CRAIG MILLER: Yes, and it's wonderful, and we've acquired
some for the museum and we will continue to acquire them. I think they are, you
know, really very well designed objects.
JEFFREY BROWN: So it's even
good design in the bathroom?
CRAIG MILLER: Absolutely.
BROWN: I guess it's probably no accident, but when I think about this in years,
Nike, other sports companies, that's where a lot of emphasis of design has been,
CRAIG MILLER: Right.
JEFFREY BROWN: Because of our culture,
CRAIG MILLER: Right. And you know it's Tom Hine who was one
of the, the team members said, you know the sneaker has almost replaced the automobile
as this sort of you know cultural icon for Americans now. And you know think about
how many people wear sneakers and how many pairs of sneaker they buy in a year.
And it's everything from a two-year-old to grown-ups. The sneaker is a statement
of their sort of personality in the same way that your car in the 50s with its
great fin, whether it was pink or blue or whatever, was sort of an expression
of your personality.
JEFFREY BROWN: Well, I remember when I would go
buy sneakers as a kid, or with my mother, there was not too many brands.
CRAIG MILLER: Right.
JEFFREY BROWN: And now you walk in and you get
basketball sneakers and you get running sneakers.
CRAIG MILLER: Oh yeah,
and there are even ones that are designed you know for, for the Olympics where
the sneakers are, or the shoe almost self-destructs at the end of one run, but
it's designed to give you that two second you know lead in the run. But when you
walk into a Nike store, there are dozens of them, you know, and uh, there are
ladies, children's, adults, men's, everything. You know so it's, it's a huge industry
JEFFREY BROWN: And therefore, designers really are attracted to
CRAIG MILLER: Yes. And uh, so again, we wanted to simply hint at
it in the exhibition because it is such an important part of you know this sort
of fashion world.
BROWN: This is going to be very familiar to a lot of people. While I was talking
to people about doing this and showing them the catalog, people saw those wastebaskets
and said either I have those, or I know that.
CRAIG MILLER: Well, I
think the Garbo can is really one of the icons just like the Aeron chair from
the 1990s. And you know he went to a Canadian company that was trying to sort
of create a new image for itself and sort of be cutting edge, and has unleashed
a whole new line of development. Not only has, has Kareem done other objects from
them, but they've hired other young designers now.
JEFFREY BROWN: Now
how does a garbage can become an icon of our time?
CRAIG MILLER: Well,
I think it's the beautiful shape here, uh, and the way he's also used the material.
If you look at it, the two smaller ones, the outside has almost um, rough, slightly
texture to it. Whereas the inside of the can has a very slick texture. And of
course, you need the slick texture if you're cleaning, but it also gives a beautiful
contrast of texture between the rough and the smooth. And even to the point of
the handle, you know which is, is not something that you attach onto the side
of it, like a metal handle or whatever, it's beautifully cut out and reflects
the soft flowing shape of the top of the can.
And there's no reason
of course for it to be that shape. It could have been just cut off like you slice
an egg, Rashid has, he wants that beautiful play between the undulating shape
of it and then the top of it and then the handle. So it becomes a beautiful composition
of these flowing lines. And yet, it's something that's a simple plastic garage
JEFFREY BROWN: Everybody needs one, right?
Exactly and also, coming to the point where you see the garbage inside of it,
JEFFREY BROWN: It's translucent so you can actually see through.
CRAIG MILLER: You see the beautiful shadow of it.
The shadow of the garbage.
CRAIG MILLER: Exactly. So, it becomes this
sort of beautiful, almost penimento [ph] inside of the can and yet it's your rubbish.
JEFFREY BROWN: So this has really taken this stuff of everyday life and transforming
CRAIG MILLER: Precisely. And you know I really wanted to include
something like this in the show because these sell for like $5. And so that the
public could understand that good design doesn't always have to be expensive.
You know and it doesn't have to be something precious that's made out of silver
or gold or whatever. It could be something as utilitarian as a garbage can that
you have in your home, that you buy in any department store for $5.
we actually have them in the shop and I think they've been an incredible seller
because people just want to take something home like this. And people are starting
to use them as an ice bucket and they've put flowers in them and whatever, so
it's taken on a whole different life because it's such a beautiful object.