what is good design?

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    Trace One

    What criteria do you use to determine what is good design, both in your own work and others? Just a general question – no agenda here! 🙂

    carmil bejan

    In my opinion good design refers to a way of thinking wich can turn the ordinary and usual into something more, using creative thought. Good design can go 2 ways: eighter the pursuit of simplicity ,, or … the dareness to find beauty in complexity. we might like something eighter for its simpliciy ,, or for its intricate complex layout:)

    Rico Flor

    One that addresses the design brief and goes a step or several further to add value to the final product….


    Good design is appropriate, contextual, robust, unique. Good design is engaging, inspiring and still familiar. Great design is sublime.
    Hopefully one of these days my work will be like that!

    Trace One

    I always like Ian McHarg’s use of the word ‘fit.’ To me that says a lot..but I find also that the ability to simplify (even while possibly presenting a complex appearance!) is the most satisfying..Prospect Park in Brooklyn, with all it’s I think 500plus acres, only has three landscape elements – meadow, mountain, and lake, and each element is divinely suited to its chosen location.

    I find there are rules to follow, also. One of my professors said “never make two paths going the same direction.” I have found that to be profoundly untrue. Some people like to run, some to meander- two paths going in the same direction can be very welcome..

    Roland Beinert

    Good design balances the needs and wants of the developer, users of the site and the conditions of the site itself, in a creative way that does not neglect any of them. Good design connects well with the surroundings, but has a sense of place as well. Good design anticipates future maintenance needs and reduces them as much as possible.

    Rico Flor

    Hello Andrew and Roland, and fellow Loungers.

    Didn’t expect this topic to grow into an engaging discourse. But, yeah, press on!

    My further comment is, thanks and great stuff for expounding and refining the discussion. Sense of place, regard to maintainability, user ownership, c/o Roland- that’s the added value I’m talking about (and probably more stuff I can’t dare imagine, as a mere mortal), courtesy of the consultant/s’ proactive or judicious effort/s (thorough investigation and study, “verbalized” by Andrew). A dialed intuition (J.) leads to these added value in the project….

    Before I go yadda-yadda, I guess it all boils down to that Zen (Lee?) balance (again, thanks Roland) – NAY, SYNERGY – between client and designer aspirations. Honest communication, honest efforts. yadda-yadda…yadda-yadda….

    Melanie Reber, RLA

    All successful design is a collaborative effort which includes the client, the land, the programming and the designer. All great design utilizes the existing landscape to capture a unique vision of each of these elements in the most creative and functional manner.

    Richard Longman

    Once read where a landscape architect described a good design is where there appears to be no designer. Not sure if that would apply to urban situations but it seems like a good objective.


    I try not to discern ‘good design’ from ‘bad design’ so much as places I’d like to visit or not.

    I think there is a lot of ‘good design’ that makes for boring places. It’s a much smaller group of people that truly cares for the quality of design of a space than those who care for the more readily accessible qualities such as physical comfort, pleasure, and entertainment.

    Unfortunately, I think the bigger issue in LA these days may be the consistent rewarding of good design for bad places.

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