»Beauty« is often being dismissed as »superficial,« even banal. Functionality has superseded beauty in design. Where, in your opinion, lies the special power of beauty?
In the 19th century, »the beautiful« was perceived as a value in its own right – on the same level as »the good«. Then, during the First World War, when so-called civilised nations slaughtered each other in unspeakable ways, numerous artists, especially Max Ernst and Marcel Duchamp, lost faith in the value of beauty. Hence Duchamp’s ›Fountain‹ as a negation of beauty. I can well comprehend this line of thinking historically, but today, through a hundred years of repetition, it is literally outdated and boring. We ourselves have come to realise by experience in the studio that whenever we take the form very seriously and put a lot of love into the beauty, the work result turns out much better. We have since found this to be true with many other examples as well: All those functional 1970s apartment blocks that had to be torn down again in the 1990s because no one wanted to live in them, would have worked much better if beauty had been part of the goal in the planning process. The special power of beauty makes me behave better in a beautiful environment. And it makes me feel better, too. Every morning I go for a run on the New York High Line, and I’ve never seen even a single piece of paper tossed on the ground there. 50 metres from the High Line, in the adjacent Meatpacking District, there is plenty of trash in the gutters. But not on the High Line. The attention to detail in the High Line design changes the behavior of its visitors.