Reader Poll

I’m working on a little something for Dining by Design. What do you think are some of the most significant design moments of the last twenty years? Not just interior design. Architecture, fashion or graphic design. Movement, product or influencer.

You don’t have to over-think it. You don’t have to impress. Just tell me what you think.
Image of Gehry’s Guggenheim Bilboa from here.
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28 thoughts on “Reader Poll

  1. When it comes to design, I think perhaps the architects were leading the sustainability movement with LEED and so forth.

  2. I would love to name a highly sought designer or express a bit of decor snobbery but I gotta say it is the democratization of design that has changed the entire market and merchandising. Television networks such as HGTV, decor shows and the buying team at Target have brought design to every segment of the population. Do you remember shopping for waste baskets back in the day? It was either plastic cheapo in mauve pink or country blue OR high end leather with gold embossed border with very little or no in-between. Today's choices boggle the mind and the price range is at every level.
    Average folks talk/care about design now. Before, they just accepted the offerings and lived with ugly plastic waste baskets.
    ('Cept me, I repurposed a nice woven basket.)

  3. I cannot imagine anyone NOT loving this masterpiece!

    Just my opinion. It is a good think my assistant was driving when I first saw "Disney Hall" in Los Angeles…I would have crashed. Masterpiece. Unbelievable. And then I went to see it. the garden (accessible by the public) is one of the most magnificent I have ever seen!

  4. significant design moments.
    that little pager in fine dining spots that tell you your table is ready. eeek – or what about free refills of the 48 ounce kind. eeek. those are pretty significant to me.
    Apple would be most significant in my mind. An apple a day, i-pod, i-pad, i-touch, i-scream.

  5. Having started writing for newspapers with hot type and letterpress and evolved through offset to computers. Hands down: The Macintosh.

  6. Influencer: The Internet
    Product: Ikea
    Movement: Post Mid-Century Modern

    Design continues to be brought to the masses — but now on a massive and efficient scale. The trickle down is faster and more wide reaching with the Internet (everything including blogs like yours and First Dibs), mass marketing (like Thomas O'Brien for Target) and other media. Design is part of "every man's" world — not just the elite.

  7. Architecture–I.M.Pei's addition to the Louvre. I don't particularly like it but it is a standout in my memory as shocking and innovative at the time.Although it was more than 20 years ago, I forgot I am that old.
    Interior Design– I agree with above; that mid-priced design from the likes of Michael Graves Victoria Hagan and more are putting good decor within reach of most folks.

  8. Just to expand on what everyone has said about inclusiveness, I'd add blurred boundaries. The high-low concept has been around since Sister Parish embraced it but it's taken on a whole new life recently.

    So mixes. Interest in vintage, not just antiques, whether it's via 1stdibs or Etsy. And blurred boundaries in terms of styles, levels of formality etc.

  9. I am going to say something incredibly simple…
    The idea of 'bringing the outdoors in'.
    I believe it not only literally opened the doors, but opened the colors… gallons of paint in every shade and hue, every nuance, every whisper, every tint… and all are welcome where they were never allowed before. In every room, every vignette, every design.

  10. The Design Blog, of course. Where else could we share, communicate and inspire one another over the span of time and place. It has changed the way I do business and inspired and encouraged me to be more inventive and take more risks.

  11. Without a doubt, I'd say the most significant design movement has been the change in accessibility of information through the internet and television.

    This has given us permission to listen to our individual instincts. Now, even if we do not have any creative abilities, we can hone in on what speaks to us so much quicker (and unconstrained, for the most part, by money – internet access is free at the public library!), by being able to see and hear from the many different creative people right at our fingertips! It is truly amazing!

    I also find the combination of stark modern and nature inspired materials (polished steel and antiques, oh my!), and the acceptance of a more eclectic aesthetic to be significant changes as well. Although, these too are probably the result of more general public access to design information and inspiration.

  12. Interesting question followed with interesting comments. I would say fashion, architecture, design- the concept of pushing boundaries. Zaha Hadid in architecture, Phillippe Starck in Design, Takashi Murakami in art, the Concorde…what in design are we capable of? where is the boundary?

  13. I'd have to agree with all of the great points above — thanks to the Internet, blogs, HGTV, and Tar-kea, it really does seem as if these days, anything goes. To add some things to the list of cool stuff, trendstarters or influencers: MoMA in NY, Richard Meier/Getty Center, the Mini Cooper, Karl Lagerfeld, Tom Ford, Calvin Klein, Jet Blue, W hotels, Swatch, Martha Stewart. Is Pottery Barn a movement? Don't know how long it's been around, but I'd say for at least the past 10-20 years, it seems that in almost every suburban home and starter apartment in the big city (including my own) there is a sturdy and unchallengingly liveable piece from PB.
    Can't wait to see pictures of your table Mrs. Blandings, I know it will be wonderful!

  14. I agree that the availability of good design is the biggest change.Even 10 years ago it was hard to find a nicely shaped armchair, (even as a designer,) or the perfect fitting for a 1920s style bathroom.
    Then in the last 5 years, the internet has made this all the more accessible.As a decorator-1stdibs has been the biggest change for me, plus being able to cc clients on emails to keep them up to date!

  15. The continuing national nightmare that is your dining room.


    Ability to get to-the-trade stuff online, bypassing the decorating industry.

  16. Phillipe Starck. his ghost chair was so influential in marrying histpry with modernism. His use of space, shape, materials is inventive and references the past, in ways we hadn't quite seen before.

  17. I am not suprised that several people have already mentioned my top three:
    – The internet
    – Ikea
    – and those Phillipe Starck ghost chairs.

    Also the growth of expectations and consumerism beyond what is reasonable, feasible or sustainable.

    Love your blog, Patricia.

  18. Architecture has many faces…sometimes a built-for-function item becomes a significant piece of Architecture, which in turn has tremendous impact on the entire world.

    Removing the Berlin Wall offered the world an opportunity to allow a new surge of creativity, commerce and communication. Although is wasn't designed to be a building of International Architecture, the attention it called to the world while it was standing, and even more so, when it came down, will always be of tremendous significance to all, as it became such a statement of freedom, and all that that entails.

  19. For me one of the more significant events was Alexander McQueen's final collection, shown after his death. His overall impact on design, especially fashion, is immense and even posthumously his vision will continue to inspire designers. There was a beautiful closure to the concepts and thoughts presented in his previous collections. Almost as if he had come full circle. If this is a starting point for inspiration on a table design check out the link ( His detail is exquisite and overall the collection is mind-blowing. (I use present tense, because his legacy is so firmly established by it)

  20. Oh, and footwear-"crocs" in fine dining establishments, footwear has changed drastically. I miss highly polished wing tips and really good argyles.

  21. No one has mentioned this yet, but in fashion, I would have to say Vera Wang. She seems to have influenced a whole generation of young women (particularly brides) with the simplicity and elegance of her clothing designs. She has also designed everything from china to fragrances. The other day, I even saw mattresses by Vera!

    I also think Martha, IKEA, Starck, and the internet as mentioned by the others have been influences on the design world at large.

  22. For me, it began with the design showrooms in Philadelphia at the Market Place, came monthly in my Architectural Digest, expanded to all of Henrietta Spencer Churchill's volumes, and has continued to evolve through to design blogs! Thankfully, life allows us to keep growing and learning.

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