Interview with Ben Hulse

Davin Greenwell, April 22, 2020 at 11:04 PM
Ben Hulse is the Design Manager for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Organizing Committee (VANOC). Born in North Yorkshire, England, Ben moved with his family to Western Canada as a child in 1986. Ben describes his view of Design Currency in this interview.

DW: What are you looking forward to most about Design Currency 2010?

BH: it’s an opportunity to share ideas and to broaden our perception of what’s possible with design. how cool is that?

i’ve always been into interdisciplinary design, so i’m interested to continue to connect the dots between disciplines and mediums. it will also be fun to share some of the things we’ve been working on at the Olympics for the last few years. of late, we’ve been firmly planted in far too much work (and still are) and haven’t shared the process and concepts with too many outside the office. should be fun.

DW: What does the conference theme “Design Currency” mean to you?

BH: it seems to have this clever duality. on one hand, it suggests the question surrounding the value of design — socially, financially, environmentally, etc. on the other, it suggests a sense of urgency — almost a question surrounding the progression of design. or perhaps i’m reading into it a bit much.

for me, the latter isn’t even a question anymore. design, across its many disciplines, has the power to change the way we interact with each other and with our environment. its value is intrinsic. from industrial design, interactive design, visual design, environmental design — the world of design has immeasurable potential and immeasurable value. the question is no longer what is the value of design — the question is how will we use the value of design?

DW: If design was currency, who would have the most? Who would have the least?

BH: the most? Obama? Apple? Phillipe Stark? Kanye West? heh. who knows.

DW: What criteria do you use to evaluate design?

BH: i use my gut. great design is like a great song — you can intellectualize to a point — but it’s really about a visceral reaction. there is a certain bit that you can’t quite put your finger on — that magic, that ‘x-factor’ (for lack of a better term). it either moves you or it does not.


Ben Hulse will be speaking at Design Currency 2010. To learn more about him, see Ben Hulse's speaker page.

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