Design for human rights

2017 is the 60th anniversary since modern design was first taught in Taiwan, and it is time to think reflectively about the nature of design and pursue progress.

Without great design, good concepts or plans cannot be delivered, which shows the importance of design to our society. Great design makes the world go around.

"Design for Human rights" is the basic concept and duty of every designer. Design should take pity on the weak and the needy, even save the needy from death. Design should be like an eagle, and its height and concentration should be able to knock down the bear and push the wolf off a cliff.

The French Swiss architect, Le Corbusier (1877-1965), once emphasized that meeting the needs of function is the priority for architectural design. Therefore, the question for contemporary architecture is how to make it surpass functionalism.

In 2011, the Taiwan Amoeba Design Association (TADA) brought the idea of "Design is Politics" which means design will not serve people's needs if it is not politics. Design is the common right for all people, even the underprivileged minority deserve the best design. This concept coincides with the idea of "Good design is a human right" mentioned by David Grossman, the chief of International Council of Design (ico-D).

In 2015, the Milan Universal Exposition claimed in The Charter of Milan that a lack of access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food, clean water and energy is a violation of human dignity. People need not only food, safety and dignity but also great design.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was proclaimed in 1948, is going to come to reach its 70 anniversary next year (2018). In article 1 of the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany, which was enacted on May 23 in 1949, there is a section which reads "Human dignity shall be inviolable. To respect and protect it shall be the duty of all state authority." 

Moreover, in article 22 of the Constitution of The Republic of China, there is a section which says "All other freedoms and rights of the people that are not detrimental to social order or public welfare shall be guaranteed under the Constitution."

When designing, designers should know democracy, and the most important thing is consider the needs of the people. Brauch De Spinoza, a philosopher of Netherlands (1632-1677), once said that the ultimate purpose of government is not ruling people but saving people from fears, and that "Human Rights are God given" is a must.

It is necessary to design by the nature of materials from a perspective which is higher than that of government. In addition, to design for people, it must also contain a consideration for “Humanity.”

Design is not only used to make products or services, but also provide advice to government and country through rationality and systematicness. "Design" should be applied in more areas besides economy, or its value would be extremely limited and further affects the development of the whole country and world.

May of those who value the spirit of "Design is a human right" are living by the words of Isaiah, "but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

 

Brain Wu (Wu Chin-sheng) is the publisher of Brain Magazine and is the founder and lifetime member of the Taiwan Amoeba Design Association (TADA).