History of design is quite significative of the past century.
In the early 20th century, the Bauhaus was thinking of how to produce furnitures quickly, economically and for all people. They were working in a common dynamic with architects to rebuild Europe after the 2nd word war.
It was not only an answer to an evident necessity but also the opportunity to create a discipline that will have a social and cultural importance in the future. But in the end of their giant work, few editors bought some iconic pieces, from famous designers of this period and made a financial market out form it.
100 years later, design massively became an art addressed to an elite because of it’s price. The affordable furniture’s production is no longer a social business nor an independent designers’s one. Economic furnitures for all people are now sold by IKEA.
To design is a verb, but it became an adjectif (in France as far as I know). A design object (“objet design”) is somewhat a good object. Why ? Not because of its cool functionalities, raw material or ergonomic shape, but because you can tell that someone designed it. It often involves complex shape and bright colours that are meant to reflect one’s design efforts. In our post-modern world, a good object is an object that look like it has been design by someone.