Title: SIMPLY BEAUTIFUL: ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT OF AN IDEA Author: Detlev Schöttker Publisher: Mak/Zine, 1/2012, pp. 58-72
Abstract: This article summarizes the origin of the simplicity as esthetic concept and its evolution through history.
Its origin was the classical Greek rhetoric. Focusing on a comprehensive public speech, they created a standard of clarity and simplicity. This principle has been revised by thinkers during centuries. At the beginning used by architects, during the Enlightenment in the 18th century it started to be applied into all the arts, including the crafts.
During the 20th century it was a renewal interested in art without ornament. Figures as Adolf Loos started a series of movements that advocated for simplicity as Modernism and Bauhaus. Including other areas as science with Albert Einstein’s work.
After the WWII there were attempts to go back to simplicity but fast the idea was critized. Even there were aesthetic movement as the “minimal art” during the 1960s, it has never fully recovered in the theorectical domain.
In my opinion it is an interesting article because contextualizes the well-known slogan of Mies van der Rohe “less is more” in history. I have the impresion that sometimes we tend to oversimplify and forget millennial aesthetic background.
Title: THE ART OF CRAFT: THE RISE OF THE DESIGNER-MAKER Author: Justin McGuirk Publisher: The Guardian, 1 August 2011 (consulted on January 2014)
Abstract: This article by the Guardian’s design critique Justin McGuirk defines a new trend in design that focuses on designing and making one own objects. The author explains the various reasons for the return of craft in the lifestyle landscape and this comes partly by the lack of opportunities of work within large manufacturing companies. Young designers take it upon themselves to produce their own work to get them on the market and by using a mix of ready made and hand made components, they create a new visual language. Through a few examples such as a partly hand made kettle and hair dryer exhibited at Villa Noailles, this principle is made attractive as a viable new type of product.
This article, although lacking depth of example, begins to touch on a larger issues such as the ethical implication of craft production vs mass production, the cultural implications of wanting to (or simply being able to) choose one over the other, and how craftsmanship in the romantic interpretation is coming back in the picture due to the ever increasing popularity of Design studies.
Abstract: While the topic may be obscure at first glance, 3D woven and knitted textiles have been around for decades. I have struggled for many years to answer questions of how these programs and machines function to produce advanced textiles. I have also then perhaps missed an opportunity to realise what may be possible to manufacture and create. This article is one of a few that I have tried to digest, it is in many ways, the simplest explanation of the processes and practices to understand, whilst including all the technical information needed to speak to manufacturers and specialists. While it is probably certain that we may not need to create advanced structures that meet exacting loadings and stresses, as designers we can adopt some of these approaches and re-appropriate them for many different applications.
Abstract: Bruno Munari‘s oevre “Design as Art” is an important source of reflections on design, touching the core of what design is and what role it can play in society. In his correspondent essay, he describes the role of designers from the perspective of the arts.
Munari criticizes he the isolated art-cosmos. In his opinion “Culture is becoming a mass affair, and the artist must step down from his pedestral and be prepared to make a sign for a butcher’s shop (…).” (1) The role of designer of his days should be, to re-establish toe “long-lost contact between art and the public, between living people and art as a living thing”(2) He appeals to designers to combine art and daily live in order to enrich peoples life.
Bruno Munari wrote the article in a time when design as a discipline was less independent and present as today and a consciousness for design was built up. Today design is omnipresent and the term “design” had an exponential spread. Nevertheless, or because of this diffusiveness, Designer seem to form groups to separate from others. On the one hand there are mostly unknown Designer working for companies producing anonymous goods, on the other hand, there is a small group off well-known designer working in the field of avant-garde for exclusive producers.
Both worlds are somehow separated and describe the extremes of the design-spectrum. Both worlds, and all the small worlds in between, they exist but their borders are very dynamic and permeable.
I think Munari’s deep wish was to combine art with commercial products in order to develop rich culture of objects. Finally I think that today design is connected very well to peoples life, sometimes more obvious, sometimes less.
Title: Domus no 974, November/December 2013, p. 10-15 Author: Alexis Georgacopoulos Publisher: Domus magazine
Abstract: The article released in domus magazine, is an informative text about the design school écal in Lausanne. In addition to this it is a highly advertising text underlining the qualities of the education. Straight from the beginning the author and director of the school names the international reputation and does not reserve dropping names of famous companies. Furthermore he describes the programs and possibilities the school offers to its students.
Although you cannot expect from the author to write critically about his school, the article describes in a positive way the main characteristics of écal very well.
When I found the article in domus magazine I was irritated that it is written by Alexis Georgacopolous. Reading the article I was irritated because I read a quite similar text on the écal homepage and I wondered myself if it is advertising but it was not marked like that.
Of course I questioned the way information and advertising are mixed. In this case I even apreciate, firstly because it is about a public school and not about a privat company and secondly because I am at the school and I profit from the article. Generally it shows to me a very informative way of making advertising.
Title: A PATTERN LANGUAGE: TOWNS, BUILDINGS, CONSTRUCTION Author: Christopher Alexander Publisher: Oxford University Press, 1977
Abstract: A Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander is a book that theorizes a practical approach allowing anyone to address a design problem and come to a solution. In this book he lays out a method by which the user, be they experienced designer or a common layman, can approach a situation and find applicable design solutions to help using something of a design dictionary. He uses the metaphor of language as a means to humanize design, and asserts that just like the composition of a sentence a well formed design is made from a set group of design grammar. The metaphor aside, Alexander’s approach to design is an attempt to use one overarching method to address any design problem, he lays out several (274) examples of design situations which are quite specific, ie. Corner Grocery, Light on Two Sides of Every Room (one of his staples), and Different Chairs as examples. Maybe not the definitive volume for all solutions, but worth a look.
Title: THE INFORMATION: A HISTORY, A THEORY, A FLOOD Author: James Gleik Publisher: Pantheon Books, New York, 2011
Abstract: The Information by James Gleik is more of a historical book on the development of communication and distribution of knowledge than a book on design. However, it is an interesting read, as often the development of technologies includes problem solving and seeing things from alternative perspectives, much the way good design does. For the purposes of my description, I’d say that the book has two distinct parts, separated by the invention of the transistor in 1952, though that might be over simplification. However for the purpose of design reading the first half might prove to be more engaging (less dry than the second) as it explains the development of several different means of communication throughout history. Often too long winded to be readily quoted, Gleik explains the developments that communication has on the psyche, and also is meticulous in his descriptions of some of the most important inventions throughout mankind’s history, but to me what is most interesting about his writings are his observations of the impact of these technological steps forward in small societal happenings such as the invention of the weather report and the introduction of the telephone to the home.
Title: OBJECTS OF DESIRE. DESIGN AND SOCIETY SINCE 1750 Author: Adrian Forty Publisher: Thames and Hudson, London 1986
Abstract: Objects of Desire by Adrian Forty was the preeminent text used for the course History of Industrial Design at my undergraduate institution. While the text at times can be a bit dry, I find Forty’s connection between the societal events of the times to design throughout history to be insightful. Take for example his assertion that the home of the industrial age London was an escape from the life at the factory; “Not only did the factory and the office cause work to become physically separate from home, but the oppressive conditions also encouraged people to keep the two separate in their minds. Giving the home positive virtues made it into a haven where some of the self-respect that was lost in the workplace could be recovered.” Forty’s insight is brought up in the course of a case study of how Singer was able to bring sewing machines into the home. I find the contextualizing of the companies struggles both interesting and potentially useful as I find myself creating objects that I want people to bring into their homes.
Title:ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE’: WHY MOMA IS EXHIBITING TETRIS AND PAC-MAN Author: Bo Moore Publisher: Wired, May 2013 (visited 30.5.2013)
Abstract: "Antonelli said she believes that is the wrong argument: “There’s this whole problem of design being often misunderstood for art,” she says, “or the idea that designers would like to be called artists. No. Designers aspire to be really great designers.”"
When the Museum of Modern Art’s senior curator of architecture and design announced the acquisition of 14 video games in 2012, “all hell broke loose.” In this far-ranging, entertaining, and deeply insightful talk, Paola Antonelli explains why she’s delighted to challenge preconceived ideas about art and galleries, and describes her burning wish to help establish a broader understanding of design.
This article is very interesting for me. Because I often think about the border between art and design. I can understand that Pac-Man is defined in design.
Abstract: "German architect, Bruno Taut, was highly known by his theoretical works, speculative writings and great buildings he designed. As a jew with social democratic sympathies, he had to leave Germany and move to Takasaki, Japan. There he produced a very influential book of Japanese culture and architecture, comparing the historical simplicity of Japanese architecture with modernist discipline. In the book he revealed interesting features of the Katsura Imperial Villa to the West, which amazed great architects like Le Corbusier and Walter Gropius by its modernity. Further, he articulated the relationship between proportion, site, and logic in Japanese architecture. Under these principles, he designed Villa Okura by making extensive use of horizontal sun-shading devices in order to block direct sunlight during the summer months while allowing the warm air to rise and escape through the high windows, creating both ventilation and air movement. Even though his works as an architect are not very popular, his writings influenced well-known architects which introduced Japanese architecture into the U.S."
Bruno Taut wasn’t only a architect, but he was also the person who deep understanding of Japanese traditional crafts and produced the crafts. When I saw the craft glance his work, I could not believe that it is a thing which they were made by the German. But they were exudes the atmosphere of the West than some Japanese people make indeed.
I was made to realize the beauty of the Japanese folkcraft again by Bruno Taut. I think that it is important that I know how the person of other countries watches our culture. This is because they know the preciousness that we did not notice so far