Ten questions for Paola Antonelli

After Paola Antonelli's Stamps lecture, MFA candidate Mia Cinelli had a few burning questions of her own for the MOMA design curator…

Watch Paola's full Stamps talk here.

1. Cake or pie?

That's a very good question. I haven't been eating carbs or sugar for the past eleven years… but I guess I prefer pie.

2. Jazz or hip-hop?

Hip-hop, definitely.

3. If you have to define design in a word, what would it be?

Oh, it's so difficult. I usually try to say that I don't want to answer, but i'll answer you. It's everything that comes from a goal. You set up a goal, and with the means at your disposal you try to achieve it. And, it has to do with at least one of the senses. I don't believe in the design of systems — it needs to at least smell.

4. What was the last piece of art you saw that really moved you?

It was an exhibition at Luhring Augustine which is a gallery in New York — this was just last week — it was an Icelandic artist (and because it's icelandic, please check it out!). But it was an amazing video installation of people in different rooms in a house in Iceland and they were all playing a song. They came together in the different videos — the installation was amazing.

Ragnar Kjartansson - The Visitors at TBA21 from theartVIEw on Vimeo.


5. What were you doing when you were twenty-four years old?

I was starting to work for Domus, I think. I was, as usual, doing a lot of different things. I was working and just coming out of school. I was working for an architecture and design magazine, so it was Domus.

6. High heels or flats?

High heels.

7. In what color?


8. If you had to give advice to a young designer, what advice would you give?

To try to study in a place that has a lot of breadth — not just a place to study design and art.

9. What advice would you give to grads and undergrads at the University of Michigan?

I think it's very important to keep a very keen eye on popular culture. Many schools try to teach you that scholarly is better than popular — and while there's already been a lot of progress in regards to that distinction, I think it's become really frayed at the edges. Academics will make you want to believe scholarly is superior, and it isn't true.

10. What music are you listening to?

It's very funny, I just downloaded — you're going to laugh — Biggie Smalls. I didn't have it on my iPod! I just downloaded Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill, and Florence and the Machine — but JUST their song, The Dog Days are Over. (I like that song, I don't really like the others.) So I was just downloading all of these songs I was missing.


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