Design Better
The Design Better Podcast
Paola Antonelli: How design shapes culture

Paola Antonelli: How design shapes culture

Episode 86 of the Design Better Podcast

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The Museum of Modern Art brings to mind images of Van Gough’s Starry Night, Salvador Dali’s Persistence of Memory, and Andy Warhol’s Campbell Soup Cans. But thanks to Paola Antonelli, senior curator in the Department of Architecture and Design, MoMA exhibitions also encompass the role design has played in shaping culture and the human experience. 

We talk with Paola about how we can look at digital design through a historic lens, some of the most important design movements in the past 100 years, and how the creative process has evolved through these different movements.

We also talk about the history of the @ symbol, why craftsmanship is necessary to experimentation, and some of the current challenges in design education.

We hope you enjoy this episode which is a part of our series on design history, with upcoming episodes on typography with Jonathan Hoefler, and the history and philosophy of design with Professor Barry Katz.


Paola Antonelli joined The Museum of Modern Art in 1994 and is the Museum’s Senior Curator in the Department of Architecture and Design, as well as MoMA’s founding Director of Research and Development. Her work investigates design in all its forms, from architecture to video games, often expanding its reach to include overlooked objects and practices.

An architect trained at the Polytechnic of Milan and a pasionaria of design, Antonelli has been named one of the 25 most incisive design visionaries in the world by TIME magazine, has earned the Design Mind Smithsonian Institution’s National Design Award, has been inducted in the US Art Directors Club Hall of Fame, and has received the AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Artists,) the London Design Medal, and the German Design Award, among other accolades.

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Design Better
The Design Better Podcast
Design Better co-hosts Eli Woolery and Aarron Walter explore the intersection of design, technology, and the creative process through conversations with inspiring guests across many creative fields. Whether you’re design curious or a design pro, Design Better is guaranteed to inspire and inform. Episodes are released semi-weekly. Vanity Fair calls Design Better, “sharp, to the point, and full of incredibly valuable information for anyone looking to better understand how to build a more innovative world.”