Back when I was in high school, I received a couple of Scholastic Art Awards, and the awards ceremony took place at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. This experience was very reaffirming at my young age as I was deciding what to study in college and what I should do with my life.
I specifically remember the (now former) Director of the Corcoran Gallery of Art's address to us and our families at the ceremony. In his speech, David Levy told us that the world needs artists. He said that everything that is made is designed by an artist. He said there is an artist involved in making absolutely everything. This was the beginning of my broader awareness of design, and how art is all around us.
At the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich, Germany, we saw a wonderful exhibit of artfully designed objects. The display is from the Neue Sammlung’s collection of applied arts, which is regarded as the most important collection of industrial design. It was a reminder of the impact that aesthetic decisions have on functional objects and how an ordinary thing can transcend into art. Here is a photo from the exhibit: (click on image to enlarge)