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Inspiration in New York

About a month ago I had the amazing experience of spending 3 days and nights in New York. This is something I had always wanted to do and after many years of waiting I finally made it and had a great few days taking in the sites with Becky (while also celebrating 2 great years of marriage in style!).

We did all the usual sightseeing, which is well documented on my Flickr account, but as this is my art/design/web blog I thought I would talk about something that really inspired me when I least expected it.

The inspiration came in the form of an exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum…. having made our way up to view the famous concrete structure, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, I was initially disappointed to find the building is currently covered by scaffolding for essential maintenance work. We went in undeterred expectant to see famous works by the likes of Picasso and Van Gogh but the real inspiration came in the form of the main exhibition which was a collection of work by the architect Zaha Hadid entitled “Thirty Years in Architecture”.

The exhibition showed a range of Hadid’s working process including many paintings and sketches exploring forms and colour schemes and adopting thematic approaches throughout her work.

It struck me that the sort of work I design actually has a lot in common with architecture in that web design is very much about organising information into different spaces and trying to be innovative about how everything fits together and interacts… the emphasis being on space and how well different objects/elements exist alongside each other.

The connection of traditional art to Hadid’s designs seemed to me to be key to her ability to find new ideas and break out of the conventional. It simply struck me that maybe sometimes the design I work with is too separated from any sort of real process.

There are web sites out there that disprove my point but maybe the issue of of creative development in web design balanced against the creative restraints of what is actually viable/accessible/possible should be looked into more.

Having always been fascinated with architecture I can definitely see myself looking into this more somewhere down the line.

Ben Holliday is an experienced design leader, writer and speaker. This is his blog (started in 2005). You can follow all of Ben's blog posts by subscribing to the RSS feed, or follow him on Twitter for more regular updates.