A few days ago Core77 linked to an article entitled "John Scalzi's Guide to the Most Epic FAILs in Star Wars Design" that raised an excellent question many designers have pondered over the years: Why is the Star Wars universe so badly designed?
"Why doesn't Luke wear a seatbelt? Shouldn't lightsabers have certain basic safety features? Why does the Death Star have an open tunnel leading directly to a combustible central reactor? And why does the Emperor have a dangerously deep open shaft right next to his throne, with no handrail of any sort? (I'd at least put yellow tape around the edge of it.)"
Although the article doesn't cite the root cause behind this epidemic of bad design decisions, one of the contributing factors has to be the greeble.
Paraphrasing Wikipedia, a greeble is an element
of detailing added to an object, explicitly designed to break up
the surface and add nonfunctional complexity. A greeble adds to the
illusion of scale because it breaks up the linear flow of the eye
over an object. It's a term that comes from science fiction,
particularly movie special effects.