What's interesting? On the ascendency of an evaluative term

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A celebrated aphorism of Mies van der Rohe runs – "I'd rather be good than interesting". However in design discourses today, this relation has been entirely overturned. Now it is good to be interesting, indeed better than to be only "good" (which is no longer what it used to be). Reflecting on this – with reference to the work of Sianne Ngai, Mario Perniola, Robin Evans and Mikhail Epstein – this paper considers the rise of "interesting" as a critical category and examines the sort of judgement-in-suspension that it seems to enact, addressing what issues might be at stake in it and what it means in relation to our understanding of design pedagogy.
Original languageEnglish
JournalArchitecture and Culture
Issue number2
Early online date2 Sep 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • architectural pedagogy
  • aesthetic theory
  • design studio
  • architectural disciplinarity
  • interesting

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