Sunday, April 8, 2007

Contemporary Part 1

Today we live in a hi-tech environment. As our interiors demanded more technology designers needed to explore the relationship of technology and design.

One of the first designers to marry the two was Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983). He was an American engineer, inventor, and philosopher. Many of his designs were called futuristic and most never went into mass production, like a prefabricated bathroom that was put together like a puzzle on site. One of the designs that he did implicate was a dome at the World’s Fair in Montreal in 1967. The large dome was enclosed by automatic plastic panels that allowed light to come in and out.

Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers teamed up to build on of the most hi-tech environments of its time. The Centre Pompidou in Paris, a multipurpose cultural center, shows structure and technology of the new century. “The large, multi-story building exposes and displays its structure, mechanical systems, and vertical transport (escalators) on its exterior in a way that suggests, on the west side, the scaffolding of a building under construction, and, on the east side, the pipes and tubes of an oil refinery or chemical plant.” (P.411) The design of the building unifies the structure and technology that make the building progressive.

After working with Richard Rogers from 1963 to 1965 Norman Foster went on to use technology in his spaces. One of his more noted designs was the office building of Willis, Faber, and Dumas in Ipswich, England. The large space is connected with two escalators that point upward towards a ceiling with open trusses.

James Sterling was a British architect that played with manipulating space through technology. For example at Olivetti training facility in Haslemere, England had rooms that served multiple users. Later in his career he moved away from technology and focused the relationship of art and architecture of the past in the modern world. The Staatsgalerie in Germany has classical elements that have been manipulated with a modern eye.

Have advance in technology influenced the way that we view design? Do you think that we have lost our classic roots? Has technology spurred or hindered creativity? Are contemporary spaces lacking in design or concept? Do they only focus on the materials and technology?

19 comments:

Caitlin said...

I think that technology has definitely influenced how we view design because it plays a major role in design today. Technology has advanced design in allowing things to be possible that never were before. It makes more designs possible that may not have been before hi-tech times. Since it gives so many more possibilities, I believe that technology has spurred creativity. If a design crossed someone's mind before technology became so advanced, then it would have just disappeared. But now, those deisgns are pursued because the actuality of them being created is real due to technological advances. As for the question about technology lacking in concept, I think that it is just simply a different type of style. It has to have concept because it has to make sense in order for it to become such a huge movement.

spees said...

Any type of advance in the world will affect design in one way or another, but advances in technology seem to affect it the most. The Industrial Revolution and Modernism were just two examples of design being affected by technology. In both cases, materials was one of the biggest changes that took place with glass and iron in the Industrial Revolution and a steel reinforced concrete in Modernism.
I do not believe contemporary spaces lack design, but perhaps in some cases lack aesthetics. Buckminster Fuller's designs were all about efficiency and "doing more with less". Because of this philosophy not all of his designs had a warm welcome from the public but he also said, "When I am working on a problem, I never think about beauty but when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong." But in this case beauty may be in the eye of the beholder.
Overall, I think technology has helped creativity, because the designer can bring their ideas to life faster and more efficiently on a computer screen if they know how to use the program. But it has also hindered creativity by providing too many shortcuts and allowing people to skip steps when figuring out the design problem. But if a person can think of an idea because of an image they saw from somewhere on the internet and move it to a design of their own, designing is faster, more efficient, and client-pleasing because it costs less.

Mallory said...

I think it is inevitable for technology to influence design... for example, think of the Material Connexion we saw in New York. That is a whole library dedicated solely to the advancement of design through new techonlogies, whether it be in fabrics or materials or what have you. I think that to a degree, technology might hinder creativity, but it should not be used as an excuse to not be imaginative. Instead of looking at technology and sticking within it's limitations (i.e. only designing what Auto-Cad can handle), designers should be looking at technology and allowing it to aid in design and making up for it's shortcomings. That's what being creative is all about- and I think the truly creative designers will stick out in the end!

kelsdietz said...

It would be impossible for technology not to influence design when it already influences so many aspects of our lifes. But I don't think it stiffles design or creativity in anyway. Technology is allowing people to become more active in their in enviroment these days, like automatic flushing toilets and sinks, and towel despencers. I know that sounds small and insiginficant, only that same technology is being used in homes for lights and other electronics. And that's really only the beginning take the Cooper-Hewitt and the light that followed your movement for example, can you imagine using that in a hallway? Instead of creating movement with repeated lines in 2D, movement would actually be created in real time. Technology is opening so many doors for design, anymore if you can think it, you can do it. Technology has provided us an opporunity in design that we have to be willing to take advantage of, not only to make enviroments more fun but more safe, and healthy as well. So no technology is not stopping design or creativity it's only letting it to go on and on and on.

edperr2 said...

Design has and always will be influenced by the technology we have to our disposal. But, it only hinders the creative process when we become content on the efficiency of the technology we are using. In this green movement we are involved with now, the intense search for efficiency has left us in a state of creative invention of better technology. Its been even since the invention of scaffolding, or the first chisel to carve out stone hinge that we have been improving upon our technological supremacy.

brittanyg0321 said...

Without advancements in technology many aspects of design would never advance to create new styles or make older processes more efficient. Mallorys example of Material Connexion is perfect. Without those new materials being made available, we would still be using the same building materials as 2 years ago. It is also true that technology can hinder a design when the designer cuts out parts they deem too advanced for a program they are working with. Also, the program may be too complex that the designer just may not know how to generate the design.

Audrey said...
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Audrey said...
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Audrey said...

Perhaps Technology is a great departure from the comforts of classicism; still, this does not mean that Technological design is a departure from humanism. Technology has both spurred and hindered our creativity. Any design can be achieved utilizing modern materials. Still just because you can make something doesn’t mean you should. There are some pretty shameless phallic structures being erected all over the place. On the other hand it is my personal philosophy that technological design can be warm and soothing through colored lighting and ergonomic/futuristic furnishings. Technological design can surely have a theme. That theme may even be based on classicism. Look at the crystal palace. It is a symbol of technology but its form is based on the classical arch. Technological design is in many ways difficult to define because it is so contemporary. There are certainly some cold and sterile connotations with the notion of Technological design.

G.Fickle said...

I believe that with new technology, designs can only get better and better due to endless capabilities. I don't believe that we should or need to go back to classic designs when designing new space. The only challage I see is now that everything is moving towards green design, will materials be available to create the designs of tomorrow or will we be limited to what can be dont.

kinseyjanzen said...

I believe that technology has influenced in the past and still does influence design today. Technology allows great advances in design, and opens a whole new world of possibility. Technology inspires many designers, even if they do not know it, and without technology design would probably be completely different today. I think that technology like autocad does not take away from the experience; it simply is just a different one altogether. It is good to know how to design without technology, but designs can take on a whole different level with it.

algrun2 said...

Technology has greatly influenced how we percieve design today. Less things are referenced to classical elements and mor toward functional. Functionalism is a major factor to consider in today's world of design but no acknowledgement to historisism can hinder current design because there's no foundation for new design proposals. To continue you to move forward, we have to compare ourselves to conotations of the past, so we have an opportunity to advance in the best way possible.

Jonathan Fox said...

The main advantage technology affords us today is the ability to build, see and test our designs before they are even built. By having technology that lets us see our designs digitally, we can see our mistakes and fix them with minimal cost of time and money. Therefore, designs can reach their maximum potential. This does not mean that we should become complacent and allow technology to drive our designs. We should see this technology as a challenge. Since technology gives us more time, we can use that time to push the envelope of design, reach new heights, break new barriers and push design to levels never seen before.

brittney said...

So, again, as many have previously mentioned, not only do not think that technology hinders design, but I think that design would be going no where if it weren't for it. Although design is changing vastly becuase of all the rapid advancements in technology, it is certainly for the good. No, it often isn't the classical design that so many crave and are used to, but it is what it is...what we are going to have to deal with...and that can be and is a very exciting thing full of new opportunities for us, as designers.

Mary Margaret said...

As Caitlin said I think that it has had an influence on the way that we design but I do not think in a bad way. We are able to do things faster like drafting on the computer giving the designer more time for the design process. We are able to connect with more information from all over the world with technology. An example is the materials connexion website they offer that designers can use as a resource to find materials and get samples. Design students still learn about the "roots" of design and with that it does influence us as well because we have an understanding of what that is exactly. Technology is only going to keep getting bigger and better and sooner or later we are going to be able to design even faster with more resources.

emily said...

Technology has always and will always affect design. From the development of the light bulb to the invention of the elevator, designs in the past have always worked around technological advances. Technology has differently spurred creativity. And although designs like the Dome at the Montreal’s World Fair may focus too much on materials that is okay beacuse techonology makes new designs possible and endless. I think using techonological influences is looking at design in a way that makes a concept different but not necessarily worse. Furthermore, I do not see a problem in this as long as the environment is considered in the design.

Brad said...

I feel that the advancements in technological design are fantastic. I also do not believe that it should disuade us from the way in which we design spaces in the future. The use of technology like everything in the design world before it is like a new era for us. It gives us the oppertunity to be able to create a new and exciting space with out the limits observed in the past.

monicam said...

Techonology definitely influences design. It is with this new technology that we are able to create new amazing materials, and ways to construct things. It is also with technology that has made design such a much more well known subject today. If it wasn't for the abundance of communication technology, and all the possibilities that it has created,then I feel like design would not be "pushed along" as much as it has been.

algrun2 said...
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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.