Monday, April 2, 2007

Ascendancy of Modernism_II- by Jordan Powell



The end of World War II permitted a gradual return to prosperity across the globe, which in turn rapidly encouraged new buildings of economic health. Growing businesses required new offices and other facilities, as well as the expansion of programs in other institutions generated an extensive need for Interior Designers.

Design in this period possessed a norm of Modernism with a basis of International style. This made possible by the increasing amount of information through circulation of magazines and books—made easier by intercontinental air travel. Technical developments contributed as well to growth of this nature. Synthetic materials became readily available, such as plastics, as replacements for older, natural materials. Alongside scientific advancements, were commercial and residential improvements, such as the mechanical air conditioning system, inexpensive fluorescent lighting, and innovative textiles.

Aside from the growing population of the physical rewards of post war depression, the minds and talent of renowned names exercise design influence in America. One form of this genius belongs to Eero Saarinen, where his artistically-sculpture forms exhibit design in the TWA Terminal of Kennedy Airport; and another to Frank Lloyd Wright in the Guggenheim Museum—both explore the modernist, curvilinear appeal of concrete and fluid line. Among Wright and Saarinen were a number of many other emerging designers who were regarded as “power” and established recognition for specific design. Names such as Sarah Tomlin Lee in specialized hotel interiors; Ward Bennett with furniture design; and Masimo and Lela Vignelli for graphic, industrial, and furniture design.

All of the people mentioned above as noted designers are well traveled and educated in design as well as had access to resources in order to work. “Architects have used a different set of values in deeming what a well-designed building should look like. Modern design seemed contemptuous of the local context, deliberately clashing with the surrounding built context instead of harmonizing with it. The result might look minimalist at times, but such designs require tremendous meditation on the part of the designer. Classicist design, because of its elaborate codification handed down from the ages, requires relatively little reflection. It is the meditative aspect of the profession that inspires the young to become architects, and serves as a major basis in judging excellent work.” Also is reference to

professional versus traditional design (that exists in the over-populated, bad tast of the suburbs) which qualifies the work as ‘good’ or ‘bad’. So do you think, that in the Ascendency of Modernism, a time of excessive supply of economic funding, demand for design, unlimited access to information through magazines and books, and intercontinental air transport made it possible for an un-trained ‘commoner’ to self-educate themselves in the hopes of becoming an architect designer? Or do you agree with the blogger, that design is instinct to a person, and that no one without that accomodation can become a successful designer. In other words, is formal education a requirement during this time for a person to be ‘professional/good’ designer? How do you feel about formal education in the field now? Is it a neccessity in order to be a successful ‘professional’ designer, or could anyone acquire the skill? What do you believe, aside from formal training, that a person needs in order to be an architectural designer, and why?




by Jordan Powell

8 comments:

Mallory said...

It is interesting to think about design without formal education. Part of me wants to say that an uneducated designer is actually just a decorator, but obviously that is not true. I agree that there is definitely a part of design that is innate- without a certain instinct or desire, designing would be difficult, and probably not nearly as much fun. However, I also believe that modern design would not be possible without education; whether it be educated in the newest technologies and drafting softwares, or the latest architectural discoveries. Education obviously opens doors to all other sorts of ideas, and I believe that the well educated are also the most imaginative. So even though education might seem overrated or occasionally a little boring, the best designers are always going to be the ones who are the most informed on the field in which they work.

emily said...

I do not think architects of this time needed formal education to be a good designer. Frank Llyod Wright established the Taliesin Fellowship which was an arrangement of apprentices that he mentored, doing so, because he strongly advised them against studying at established schools. And although established schools brought out famous architects, many self-taught or apprentices became nationally known such as Harwell Hamilton Harris who designed his own office in Los Angeles in 1934 and his own house in Fellowhip park which brought hum wide recognition. This just proves that aside from training, an individual needs experience and wise guidance from a master of acrhitecture.

Megandrees said...

I think that Designers of this time need formal education. If you are going to talk and relate to poeple on a proffesional level you must understand the vocabulary of desgin. Where would you learn if it wasn't for a school. What a school can not teach you is how to think and how to be creative. You are responsible for thinking outside the box and coming up with your own ideas. All education does is fine tune your ideas and show how to display them. You are making the statement with your design. That is why we cant say if one design is better than another. Modernist designers took the education they had and pushed the box.

Becca Cole said...

I couldn't imagine being a designer without an educational background. I believe that yes a person needs to be talented and creative, which that comes without education, but there has to be some kind of structure to it, which comes with education. Also, I believe that formal education saves time (and sanity) compared to a person who is self-educate. There is too many programs, new technologies, and too many new discoveries that impact design for one person to figure out on their own. I don't believe anybody can acquire the skill of a designer without talent and the education to back it up.

estee said...

I think during the era of modernism it was quite possible to be a good designer without a formal education. For instance many great designers learned from watching the designers/ architects before them. Today, however, i think it is impossible to be successful in the field of design without being well educated. We know so much more about the design world then 50 years ago. I believe that there are many things to learn in becoming a well-rounded designer other than the design itself...for instance how design effects our everyday lives.

RCRecker said...

Understanding design is a major part of design and not just throwing things up on the wall. Many years ago design was also not as popular so there was not a great deal of demand for it and if there was the knowledge of it was simple. As things have grown and designers have became more popular formal education is expected. Still at times reading a book or researching on the internet can provide you with knowledge of design. As design become more popular the way it is taught could be changed in that a more concentrated curriculum could be used. Concentrate classes more on design and less on other college course. But in the future we will see because everyone has an opinion about education.

Joyce T said...

Its ironic that you ask this question, because my roommate was just asking me about the same question the other day. She really likes interior design, but wondered if you could be successful without an education. I told her that there was much more to design than having creativity and passion. Even if a person could create fantastic, functioning designs, they would not be able to actually build the design because of lack of training and knowledge of materials, technology, and business. One of the most important factors in our education is the knowledge of the laws and regulations related to interior design. A designer with no certification, could be potentially hazardous. If they do not have a full range of knowledge, than can create designs that could be dangerous if an emergency arises. Using the wrong material on a chair, or placing extra furniture in front of a fire exit could cause a major fire hazard. Sociofugal design can cause tension in a work place or crime rates to increase. If you are not trained, you may find it harder to identify a sociofugal design. Also, design is more business than creativity. Without the correct vocabulary and knowledge of construction, how will you be able to communicate your design? If you cannot create sensible, readable construction documents, how can your design be built?

brittney said...

Like Estee has already mentioned, I do think that it was much more likely for someone to enter the design field without any formal training during the age of modernism than it would be now. Today, in order to practice, you absolutely need that piece of paper stating that you gave four years to learn how to 'design'. I think that this neccessity for a degree boils down to the fact that design today is largely focused around health and safety codes rather than just the art itself, as it was during the age of nodernism. People were able to think more freely and look at design just as design. Today we are given so many restrictions, and for understandable reasons, that we have no choice but to become formally educated on them so that we don't allow them to step in front of design itself.

This blog is intended for the interior design students in the college of design at the University of Kentucky. It was created with the intent to present students with information, providing them with a channel for contemplation and discussion.