Monday, March, 1, 1999

Since 1995, companies of all varieties began using the internet to maximize visibility and increase productivity. In the midst of a ‘’ environment, where more and more products are sold online rather than in person, Alberto Meda lead a panel discussion at Luminaire that examined how consumerism in the virtual world affects design in the real world.

Titled ‘Internet: Friend or Foe,’ the panel explored how this widely accessible medium could be an invaluable tool for industrial designers and architects, giving them the tools to communicate with clients, manufacturers, peers. Galleries and retail venues could maximize the expansiveness of the internet to research market information and material specs while reaching a larger audience of potential customers. Nonetheless, selling products online, however user-friendly and profit fostering it may appear, eliminates the person-to-person contact that a consumer receives in store, risking the loss of personal investment in a product and company and making it more difficult for a company to share its passion and educate clients on the cultural and historical significance of a product.

Coming into design from an engineering background, Meda brought to the discussion his pragmatic mind as well as his love for design, for materials and for the production process. As the panel poured over the pros and cons of the affects of online consumerism on the design community, guests learned the importance of maximizing current technology without losing site of human connections. Improving the lives of people, after all, is why designers do what they do, and at the core of Luminaire’s philosophy.