The Air We Breathe

“The best computers are those that are invisible,” Sami Niemelä stated at the beginning of his talk on how borders between the physical and digital world are blurring. Ordinary everyday objects like phone books and cameras disappeared. They have become intangible and are nothing but an icon on a pane of glass. Technological developments like GPS and RFID allow even analogue products like socks to become a gadget. Niemelä sees this trend as an ongoing process, where, in the end, everything that can be software, will be. At the same time, technology will recede more and more into the background.

Design holds the key to making sense of this quickly and ever changing world.

“Honest, design-led thinking is really the tool to find answers to problems,” Niemelä explained. He is Co-founder and Creative Director of the design agency Nordkapp, that is based in Helsinki, 2012’s World Design Capital. In general, Finnish design can be characterised as functional, clear and human, Sami explained. Because designers like him are aware of their responsibility and try to provide true value by solving people’s problems. “In the end, what we do is really simple, but we have to do it really well,” he concluded his inspiring talk at NEXT Service Design 2012.