What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
Close
With rendition switcher

Transcript

Question: How did you choose design as a career?

Massimo Vignelli:  Yes.  I started to begin to be interested in architecture and design when I was 14 years old, which was pretty early in life.  And then I would start to look at architectural magazines and I eventually went to the school of architecture too, but one of the things I learned very early is that an architect should be able to design anything from a spoon to the city.  That was a favorite phrase by Argo Flores, a Viennese architect around the turn of the century, the other century.  And I was fascinated by that idea and then I’ve seen that that is true and the great architects like Flores and Hoffmann from Vienna, again were doing this kind of things.  And since I was born and raised in Milan, architects in Milan, they were also doing all kinds of things.  They were designing buildings and furniture and interiors and exhibitions and so on. 

Then I shared an apartment with Max Huber, a famous graphic designer from Switzerland, and so I learned graphic design and I got fully in love with graphic design.  And so I was doing the whole thing from graphics to architecture.

So I built a house at one point for a client and then I did exhibitions and then I started to do products and you know, that's the way I started.  And I like to try all the time to try different materials, different experiences, I was eager to try all kinds of things and I suppose that attitude has a left me after a long, long life of design anyhow.  So that's how I got interested in architecture and design.  And naturally since I was very curious about the protagonist of the Modern movement in Europe at the time by the time I got to the University of Architecture I was about 20 years old, I had already met cursory all the major architects in Europe from Le Corbusier, to you name it, all the others, country by country, which was very exciting.  You know, I was a kind of a groupie I would say. 

And of course, I was reading all of the books of them and about what they had to say, and that gave me the critical strength or the critical background to approach architecture and design.

 

Designing Anything, “From a...

Newsletter: Share: