‘Design has acquired so many different meanings at different times and in different contexts, often mutually contradictory ones, that it has emerged as a slippery and elusive phenomenon, prey to muddles and clichés,’ Alice Rawsthorn once wrote. The design world is lucky to have an eminent design critic like Rawsthorn to separate the wheat from the chaff and bring to the foreground what is really meaningful.
Alice Rawsthorn writes on design in the International New York Times, and is a columnist on design for Frieze. Her critically acclaimed book Hello World: Where Design Meets Life, explores design’s influence on our lives: past, present and future. Her most recent publication Design as an Attitude explains how design is responding to an age of intense economic, political, and ecological instability.
Born in Manchester, Rawsthorn graduated in art history from Cambridge University. From 1985 to 2001, she was an award-winning journalist for the Financial Times, working as a foreign correspondent in Paris and pioneering the FT’s coverage of the creative industries. She was director of the Design Museum in London from 2001 until 2006, when she became design critic of the global edition of the New York Times.
Rawsthorn is an influential public speaker on design, who participated in important global events including TED and the annual meetings of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. She is an honorary senior fellow of the Royal College of Art with an honorary doctorate from the University of the Arts. She also is a founding member of Writers at Liberty, a group of writers who are committed to supporting the human rights charity Liberty.