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?

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.