New Media

  • Design Emergency
    Paola Antonelli and Alice Rawsthorn
    Paola Antonelli & Alice Rawsthorn

Living Root Bridge near Mawlynnong, East Khasi Hills, Meghalaya, India, 2016. Digital Photograph. Courtesy CC-BY-SA-4.0. Photo: Aditi Verma

Design Emergency’s YouTube channel streams interviews with architects, engineers, and designers who are at the forefront of positive change in different fields and different parts of the world. The interviews are conducted fortnightly by Paola Antonelli and Alice Rawsthorn. Each one is structured to encourage global leaders in architecture and design to discuss their work from a personal perspective, sharing lessons learnt from failures, as well as their successes, and their future ambitions. As well as showing practical examples of how architects are addressing major challenges, the interviews illustrate their use of new technologies and ancient indigenous design practices. By doing so, the YouTube channel of Design Emergency provides a rich source of information and inspiration for the architecture and design communities, to students especially. It also demystifies the often-inscrutable field of architecture to the public by demonstrating clearly and engagingly how it is already helping to build a better future.

Paola Antonelli is senior curator in the Department of Architecture & Design at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, and its founding director of Research & Development. Her work investigates design in all forms, from architecture to video games, expanding its reach to include overlooked objects and practices. Her exhibitions, lectures, and writing explore design’s interaction with other fields and with life—that of individuals, communities, all species, and things. Antonelli has been named one of the world’s 25 most incisive design visionaries by TIME magazine, has earned the Design Mind Smithsonian Institution’s National Design Award, been inducted in the United States Art Directors’ Club Hall of Fame, and received the London Design Medal, and German Design Award, among other accolades. Her goal is to promote design’s understanding until its positive influence on the world is universally acknowledged and put to good use.

Alice Rawsthorn is an award-winning design critic and author, whose books include Hello World: Where Design Meets Life (Penguin, 2013), Design as an Attitude (JRP|Ringier, 2018) and, most recently, Design Emergency: Building a Better Future, cowritten with Paola Antonelli (Phaidon, 2022). Her books have been published in more than a dozen languages. In all her work, Rawsthorn champions design’s potential to address complex social, political, and ecological challenges. Born in Manchester and based in London, Rawsthorn is a former foreign correspondent for the Financial Times and wrote a weekly design column for The New York Times that was syndicated worldwide for over a decade. Rawsthorn is a founding member of the Writers for Liberty campaign for human rights and of the advisory board of the DemocracyNext research and action institute. She has been awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to design and the arts.