Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Monday, December 8, 2008
Design in a way is an act of balance. Designers have to maintain a “balance between the permanent and the ephemeral, between nature and the consumer dominated culture” that we live in today(Raizman 363). This whole seesaw of balance believe it or not relies on us as designers to keep in check. One major thing that is throwing it off kilter is the over consumption of our society.
Our society has thrived on consumption throughout the past fifty years. We are a use and throw away society. It is mainly seen and studied in environmental awareness and the heath food industry. This is even seen through furniture sales. IKEA for example has had huge international success with its modern furniture designs. With consumption comes obsolescence, and with obsolescence also comes consumerism. In fact, “obsolescence remains the cornerstone of consumer-led design, involving the stimulation of desire through novelty on one hand and the effective management of production costs on the other”(Raizman 366).
Another driving force behind modern design is the means of miniaturizing technology. This is seen in all sorts of ways like cell phones and laptops. This can be a challenging aspect of design because so many constraints are placed on the designer which leads to a certain amount of conformity when it comes to miniaturization in electronic products(Raizman 372). In addition to this, graphic design has a huge impact on the modern designs of today. The fact that designs can be “soft” or easily changed in a digital format really makes it easy for designs to change with little effort. Finally some other influences are materials technology and craft.
If universal design is defined as “the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible…”(Raizman 371) do you think that we are achieving this in our society as a whole? Also do you feel that this new technical society is straying too far away from the previous handmade society we used to live in? And what in your own life do you think as the largest effect on modern design today?
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
This time period was a time for expression and experimentation with shapes as well as materials and color. With these new ideas in mind new organizations started to emerge, creating companies that did more than your average designs. One of the major organizations that emereged was a company called Memphis. Memphis was made up of "industrial designers said to be "liberated" from their contracts with particular companies with freedom to pursue directions beyond the parameters of good design." (Raizman 355). They did everything from organizing group exhibitons in Milan to manufacturing furniture. The table in the picture above was designed by Ettore Sottsass Jr. produced by Memphis.
In this time of expression furniture design was not the only challenging aspect in postmodern culture. Behavior, dress and accessories associated with the punk movement were said to be aggressive, destructive, and uninhibited. This is were 'graffiti' began to become a real problem.
The postmoderism era had a huge affect on our culutre from political and economical issues as well as design and individual style. How do you feel about the push toward looking past average 'good' design? Do you think this was a step in the right direction? Also how do you feel about the epression of individualism with the newly found 'punk' style, changing not only they way people look at design but they way they express their own 'designs' through their dress and behavior?
Monday, December 1, 2008
Post-Modernity is a mixture of many styles, thoughts, and concepts a time during the late 70’s through the 90’s. As Raizman summarized it, “The term postmodernism is also often found in conjunction with others such as post-industrialism and late capitalism, all referring to a culture in which consumption is the common subtext, emerging first in the early years of postwar affluence in the United States and spreading to Europe and other developed nations.” One might wonder where modernism ends and postmodernism begins. Well, there is a fine line between the two and with the mixture of so many concepts during this time it makes it hard to pin point the start. According to Raizman, one group during this time had been very influential. The Memphis group comprised of Italian designers and architects who created a series of highly influential products in the 1980's. They disagreed with the conformist approach at the time and challenged the idea that products had to follow conventional shapes, colors, textures and patterns. The Memphis group was founded in 1981. One of the leading members of this group was Ettore Sottsass, Jr. His furniture designs are very significant during this time. The Memphis group also worked with the Formica Corporation to design furniture with their new material called ColorCore. Other designers during this time also experimented with new materials and shapes. Some of those designers are, Robert Venturi, Michael Graves, and Frank Gehry. According to the Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History: From the late 1970s through the '80s, many architects and designers, reacting against the dictates of modernism, looked to neoclassical forms and materials for inspiration. Visual references derived from art and architecture superseded functionalism. Overt historical references and decoration transformed architecture, furniture, tabletop accessories, and jewelry into objects of fantasy. Well-known architects Robert Venturi, Michael Graves, and others accepted commissions to design products for such diverse international companies as Knoll, Alessi, and Formica. Over a period of more than five years, beginning in the late 1970s, Robert Venturi designed his first furniture line. Knoll International initially asked for three seating types, to which Venturi added six more chairs, three tables, and a sofa. The collection included a variety of major historical furniture styles—Chippendale, Queen Anne, Empire, Hepplewhite, Sheraton, Biedermeier, Gothic Revival, Art Nouveau, and Art Deco. Frank Gehry is also well known for his work in deconstructivism that is also a connected concept to postmodernism. Sparke also defines postmodernism as, “that single vision of modernity had been replaced by a notion of ‘postmodernity’, which was multivalent and complex, in a state of continual flux, and represented by a diverse and pluralistic material culture."
What are some other forms that you recognize around campus and the state that were designed during this style? Do you feel that we were ready for a new style even though modernism was still a strong style? What to you is the biggest difference between the modernism style and post-modernism? Also, Do you feel that post-modernism was a step in the right direction?
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
The 60's and 70's were a time of great innovation all around the world. New materials, new products, new processes, and new ways of advertising were all introduced during this time period. While many are impressed with the discovery of new ways of making things with new materials they often overlook a very important aspect: Advertising. Without a way of advertising for their products companies would find it harder to get their product on the market and sell it with great success. While televisions and radios were being invented around this time actual paper advertisement remained extremely important. As a result graphic design became very prevalent. Artists were commissioned to create logos for large companies. Creating these logos entailed creating a graphic as well as a unified text style to be associated with a particular brand. For example, Paul Rand was hired to design the logos for IBM, the Westinghouse Corporation, and ABC (Raizman, p. 328). When developing logos and advertisements it was important for the designer to be sure that it pertained to the audience he or she was trying to reach for instance in terms of age and nationality. It was also important for graphic designers to create universal symbols so that someone of a different nationality could still understand what was trying to be said. For example, symbols for men's and women's restrooms, telephones, airports, trains, smoking or non-smoking, etc. (Raizman, p. 330). Graphics can also be used for the power of suggestion. Artists may use a particular font, texture, or graphic in order to imply a certain feeling that he or she may want the viewer to acquire when viewing the ad. As you can see graphic design has more of an impact than one might consider. In what ways will you incorporate graphic design into your career as an interior designer. Do you think it will have an effect on your success as a designer and your ability to acquire clients? Why or why not?
Monday, November 17, 2008
While the first post-war decade of the 1950’s initially brought about a much greater focus on mass media and consumption of goods, the 1960’s expanded on the use of new technologies and materials to create false obsolescence of goods. However, instead of merely focusing on better economic value and functionality to categorize a product as “new,” manufacturers and designers began to focus more on esthetics, combining art and functionality. The wealth of new materials and processes developed in the 1960’s and later began to obscure “the distinction between design and fashion, between needs and wants.” (Raizman, pg 318) This meant that functional design went hand-in-hand with current trends of the time and, as a result, wants became necessities. A few of the main materials used during this time were plastics and metals. Various new processes were used to make strides in areas such as furniture design, product housing, and sports equipment. Changes in furniture design were made possible by the process of injection-molding stronger plastic polymers, molding lighter weight aluminum, and using foam as a construction material instead of merely filler for upholstery. Seating design came to resemble many tendencies in the fine arts, such as abstraction and precision. A few great examples of this include Joe Columbo’s injection-mold plastic side chair and Pierre Paulin’s foam “ribbon chair.” Next, new materials and processes were used to make product housing much more compact, often allowing for more portable products. Called miniaturization, a few examples of this include a portable typewriter developed by Ettore Sottsass and Perry King, a portable television developed by Sony, and the Walkman portable cassette player, also developed by Sony. Finally, the use of metals instead of wood in sports equipment lead to many performance-enhancing changes to more simple designs. The professionals who advertised them endorsed the idea that the newer, lighter, more contoured designs were better for the athletes that used them. One primary example of this was how tennis rackets began to be made from aluminum. All of these new products and processes were supported by the development of brand recognition through graphic design of easily recognizable symbols. These symbols developed corporate identity systems based on the characteristics of those most likely to buy the products, which helped to advertise the products and make them more well known.
Do you think that these advancements demonstrate positive or negative changes to production of goods? How have these products and processes paved the way for products we see in stores today? How has the use of these new materials affected the economy and the styles of today? Are they supportive of the "green design" emphasized in today's society?
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Many industries used obsolescence to market their products. During the 50’s the biggest example of this is the automotive industry. General Motors president Alfred Sloan used annual stylizing changes to “create a vehicle “for every purse”, defining a series of gradations from efficiency to luxury in terms of visible difference…”. (Raizman, pg. 296) The number of car makers began to decrease because of the competition to promote their annual changes. Brand identification was also very important.
Advertising for cars came in many forms. Hollywood helped to show the freedom and individual expression in movies like American Graffiti. Ads in magazines and newspapers showed attractive couples either coming in from a night out or at some fabulous restaurant. These ads helped to equate luxury with cars.
Obsolescence can also be found in the model home market. Instead of different models every year, it was used to show individuality. “And like car makers, they used styling to give buyers an illusion of choice”; this pretty much sums up the model housing in the 1950’s. (Votolato, pg. 227) Consumers were offered choices to make the model homes not so cookie-cutter. Practical considerations also drew consumers. Kitchens with picture windows, attached garages and appliances tried to tip the scale of conformity.
The 1950’s was about convenience. Time saving appliances, model homes, cheap products were all the rage. How has this affected today’s culture? Do you think design in this period had a large impact on design today? Give some examples of obsolescence today. Do you think false obsolescence is a good marketing tool?
Thanks to the long period of peace and political stability, the United States was particularly able to accumulate a large amount of money and rebuild its economical and political powers.
It is during this time that the development of new materials, such as Bakelite, Lucite, Vynilite, Rayon and Nylon, new techniques and the electrification of the assembly line brought new possibilities in all fields of design and architecture. Also, the time of peace allowed people to enjoy their leisure time and really look forward to achieve their desires. New luxurious beach resorts came to play an important role in Americans new vacation times because they offered services that were not available in the domestic sphere and because they opened a new market for travelling.
From the 1950s, we rapidly saw the development of a mass culture that appreciated money, beauty and luxury.
Thanks to magazines and catalogues, people were now able to choose from a wide variety of products, from houses to home appliances, cars and fashion products, sport goods and toys.
William Levitt, considered the Henry Ford of housing, introduced the mass production of houses. As people moved away from the city into the suburbia, they wanted new, cheap houses, and Levitt gave them what they needed. Thanks to the use of inexpensive materials, like concrete, wood studs, dry walls, etc., and the fast methods of construction, these prefabricated houses could be put up in a very short time and efficient manner at a very low cost, starting from $ 7900 (Raizman, page 305). Even though it created conformity and peripheral areas look almost entirely the same, everyone could customize their house the way the wanted to. Also, with the availability of new products (television, radio, home appliances, kitchens, chairs, home décor, etc.), people started to fill these places with as much stuff as possible, and, likewise the Victorian Era, they could show off their status by displaying all that they had. On top of that, if they could afford one of the new models of automobiles, they could park this one in their new garage, attached to the house – one of the new features of the prefabricated residence.
Because of the abundance of products and the possibility of customization, the new concept of obsolescence came to be of great importance in post war society. As new objects were produced and advertised, old ones became out of fashion. Everything, from fashion to interior design products, home appliances and sports goods, was affected by seasonal changes, even if minimal. The late 19th century society became known as a throwaway society deeply affected by advertising and vogue.
Monday, November 10, 2008
When creating these national identities there were two major design ideas that countries would adopt into their design style. The first was a national style based off of the Craft time period, a movement focused on natural materials and manual labor. The second idea found in this time period was the idea that the world was moving into an industrial way of life. This idea was considered to be a “leap of faith” in the design world (Sparke, 95).
During this time of national growth and identification, a strong sense of competition was also present. This competition was best shown within the numerous exhibitions of the time. One of the first exhibitions included the exhibition in Hyde Park, London. The great sense of competition is also shown through the amount of countries participating in these exhibitions, like France, Germany and the United States (Sparke, 97)
Furthermore, there was a very large interest in the popular exhibitions of the time period. For example, Paul Greenhalgh, author of Ephemeral Vistas: The Expositions Universelles, Great Exhibitions and World’s Fairs, studied the various exhibitions and found a series of common themes in each (Sparke, 97). Some of these themes included “new technologies, raw materials and manufactured goods” (Sparke, 97).
Overall, each exhibition provided an opportunity to show off one’s national strength. Also, national achievements and products were displayed openly and proudly.
How is this different from our present day world?
Is our economic and national strength put out there for others to see, like in the various exhibitions of the time period?
Today, are different countries so eager to share their materials and products?
Furthermore, do you think nations today have met their goals in establishing their own national identities and design styles?
International Modernism was a major design style lasting from around 1945 to the 1960’s brought about by the “shortages” and “rationing” after World War II (Raizman, 244). However due to new exhibitions as well as the example of the United States, economic recovery, optimism, and consumer confidence were once again motivated (Raizman, 244). In the United States, architects maintained “eclectic historicism based on the concepts of the Paris Ecole des Beaux Arts,” (Pile, 373). Many new “modern design initiatives” began to appear after the war, which used new “materials and technologies to domesticate consumption and efficiency” (Raizman, 244). Modern Industrial materials, such as plastic, Poly-T, fiberglass, aluminum, steel wires, and concrete were utilized for individuality and comfort in a way they had never been used before. Technologies used in the war efforts began to surface for domesticate uses, like Ploy-T or pliable plastic manufactured in 1942 used in the new production of “Tupperware,” a household item which continues to be used today. Because there were products on the market which were more specialized to specific needs, companies began to market themselves to “differentiate the company’s product…from their competitors” (Raizman, 245) often favoring the use of photography (Raizman, 251). During Industrial Modernism, industrial technology was thought of as “the agent of improved efficiency” and allowed for a sense of “individual fulfillment” (Raizman, 247). Charles Eames took his knowledge from working in the US Navy and experimented with new technologies creating low cost furniture in more “organic sculptural” forms, for example the “lounge chair“ designed in 1956 (Raizman, 247).
International designers sought to design products in a way which would express individuality and new public appreciation for original designs and the production of new technologies allowed for sculptural flexibility. In the United States, designers like Frank Lloyd Wright, which was influenced by Japanese geometry (Pile, 373). International Modernists designers, like Paul Rand and Gene Federico, used the element of surprise and contrast in their works to communicate “bold innovation” (Raizman, 252). Designers like Alvin Lustig believed they must remain “free” in order to “experiment, play, change, and alter forms” (Raizman, 253-254). Magazines began to have more striking compositions which would experiment with typography using a broad array of techniques (Raizman, 254-256). Will Burtain, a German graphic designer, began to “cover a wide range of activities,” in which he would often juxtapose images freely (Raizman, 257). International Modernism took many varying directions, while having a large impact on the public, and designs of today.
How has International Modernism influenced design of all fields today? How has International Modernism changed from and developed over the past 60 years? Do you think that new materials (like the development of Tupperware) had positive or negative effect on society? How do you believe International Modernism has shaped todays society?
In England the war meant a severe depletion of resources, so their designs erred more on the side of the industrial- as is seen in George Carwardine’s Anglepoise lamp. But there was still room for whimsical creativity in the textile design of Marianne Mahler’s Bird and Bowl pattern.
Italy was highly concerned with establishing a name for itself- being such a little country competing in a global export market. They took a route harkening back to the director/artist system of the royal manufactories by employing a consultant designer to create a unified design approach. From there they could mass produce to their heart’s content. The curvaceous Lady armchair by Marco Zanuso references natural forms, simultaneously experimenting with the new materials of foam rubber while Italian light design (much like the simplistic English lighting) took the minimalist/industrial form of Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni’s Tubino desk lamp.
Germany pioneered the automobile field, using streamlined curves for its bodywork in the BMW while still maintaining straightforward rectilinear lines for much of its design such as Max Bill’s granite statues.
Japan had to work a little harder than everyone else to get back in the world’s favor, ‘With government support a number of Japanese manufacturers began a conscious pragmatic effort to enter the export market for the more sophisticated products of good design. (Raizman 286)’ They did so with the nature-derived curves of Sori Yanagi’s butterfly stool but more popularly with the orthogonal boxes of Nikon cameras and Sony radios.
Has America developed any tendencies in our own wartime world, whether they be in design or in lifestyle? Where do you see tension between organic design (not sustainable design, but specifically nature-inspired design) and industrial design in our contemporary world? List examples of products from the same time period that express themselves in these two different ways.
Monday, November 3, 2008
It was during this time that industrial designers moved away from the blandness of mass-producing function and function only and began “styling” products to increase consumer appeal, while still retaining a design that was highly functional and efficient. Increasing consumer appeal was very important at this time due to the severe economic downfall of the Great Depression. Styled products were those that had a modern design approach and were “streamlined.” Many products had a unified body which housed all necessary components in one unit and was without interruptions from “ugly seams,” and had rounded edges that helped to achieve the streamlined design approach (Sparke, 99). Raymond Loewy’s Coca-Cola Fountain Dispenser was a styled design that had both a unified body and an attractive streamlined design through the implementation of curves on the product’s edges. Loewy, like many industrial designers, was successful in creating a branded product for the Coca-Cola Company and elevated the company’s sale’s success and familiarity among consumers through his design. Thus, industrial designers had now become branding agents for varying companies and were just as in tune with creating functional products as they were with creating appealing products consistent with the particular company’s theme.
Consider a specific company from today and determine whether or not an industrial designer had created a specific brand through their designs that speaks for the company altogether. This was the effect of the first industrial designers, is it still a relevant concept for today’s industrial designers?
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Today, the economy is in rough shape once again. Jobs are being lost, companies are becoming bankrupt, and the average American is scared of spending whatever money they might have. We live in fear of the return of the Great Depression. The recent radical drop in the economy causes industry leaders to critique the current performance of our products. These revisions will yet again lead to improvements in daily life and means of survival. Parallel to the improvements in transportation of the late 1930’s, motor companies are developing new means of transportation and fuel use. We are researching more cost-efficient and eco-friendly ways of transportation, to ignite the new era of industrial technology. Just as the exposition of 1939 revolved around making life more enjoyable and leisurely than years past, researchers are finding new ways of giving back to society.
It is obvious that our current economic standing reflects the situation of the 1930’s. Can the arrival of 2009 jump start the reformation of the economy the way the World’s Fair of 1939 did? Or will we have to go through much worse conditions before serious restructuring can occur? What will it take for our society to pull together in a patriotic movement to dig ourselves out of this rut and return to the prosperous nation we have always been?
Advertisers believed that the purpose of such advertisements was to sell the company’s products and that reference to the individual artists or to the works of art focused attention upon the ad as an “object” rather than as a promotion product (Raizman 225). Here, we saw a switch from photography used as a form of advertisement device to a form of journalism; capturing the use of the product as everyday people used it on a regular basis. Art directors turned to photographic reproduction for it “objective” truth and its visual impact.
Did all these new advertisement ploys seem to create a new visual culture in the US? If so, can this still be seen in today’s society? Do you think that the advertisers originally used the portrayal of the “good life” to show how they wanted their products to be used? Do you think that advertisements today tend to show products used in a more everyday sense or used in a more upscale, exclusive manner?
Monday, October 27, 2008
After World War I the design community did seem to have the same connection with everyday people as they had before. “Manufactures considered design, as during the nineteenth century, as endless variations on traditional decorative patterns applied to furniture, lighting fixtures, silverware, ceramics, wallpaper, and fabrics” (pile 94). With the change in design taste in 1925 at the world’s fair the style Art Deco was introduced. The style was both praised and criticized by its viewers at the fair. The United States didn’t have the same take on the style as Europe did, in that instead of incorporating the new modern style in homes the US designed skyscrapers with it’s ideals. Including the interior furniture. With the new Zoning law in New York City’s the need for skyscraper technology advancements was at it’s high (pile 100). Because of the expense of the modern design everyday Americans weren’t able to afford it thus leaving the style to be seen in large expensive skyscrapers and hotels in the cities.
It wasn’t until the Great Depression would the new modern designs become more affordable for everyday people, only because they would be forced to. During this time it was so important that designers find an alternative way to make design more affordable because in national crisis such as the depression design is not seen as a necessity but more as a luxury. The automobile is a prime example of the changed made to make the product more affordable. Originally the building of a car was very labor intensive using “composite bodies of sheet metal on wooden frames,” then moving towards innovations of “all steel bodies stamped in huge presses” (Pile 104). With the Great Depression Industrial Design was introduced and with it industrial designers. These designers were the ones that could make a product affordable for the consumers as well as keeping the product equally attractive.
How does this situation relate to today? Are we going to have to become industrial designers ourselves? Is our current economy today equally as bad? What about green design that seems to becoming more popular today, how will it have to change?
Sunday, October 26, 2008
The school struggled for adequate resources because they were suffering criticism from both the government and other designers associated with the Constructivism movement. This movement was very different from that of the Bauhaus. They were structured around the practice of mechanized industrial production. The school responded to this negativity by shifting the focus of their mission and curriculum. This “shift of focus” turned into a complete 180 degree change in philosophy. This turn of events came about when Constructivist Laszlo Moholy-Nagy was appointed as the new director of the Vorkurs program. No as you remember, I mentioned the constructivists earlier on. The constructivists were the designers with a completely different philosophy who had been criticizing the Bauhaus. So as you can imagine the impact he played on the school. Naturally, when taking over the Vorkurs classes he brought in his industrial focus. He also brought in his strong commitment to mechanized mass production. He also reduced the importance of craft specialization and traditional workshop training. The spiritual association with the creative process was no longer considered important. The new philosophy was focused on an appreciation of the aesthetic potential of new industrial materials. Moholy-Nagy stated, “Constructivism is not confined to the picture frame and the pedestal. IT expands into industrial design, into house, objects, forms. It is the socialism of vision - the common property of all men (Raizman 184) .” He believed that this new theory would broaden the professional horizons for the students. And he believed that this philosophy compensated for the sacrifice of individuality. A structural example of the new curriculum is the student built Haus-Am Horn. It consisted of a large living room surrounded by smaller rectangular rooms, each intended for a specific domestic function. It was constructed of prefabricated material and was intended to be the prototype of future, cheap, quick, public housing.
Even after all of these changes, even after the original philosophy completely changed to that of the critics, the government was still not pleased and the philosophy of the Bauhaus was again repainted with new faculty and curriculum again and again. Reading this blog, what opinion have you formed regarding the philosophy of the original Bauhaus vs. the revised? Do you feel Moholy-Nagy’s ideas were beneficial, even called for. Do you believe that the Bauhaus started of with the right idea but was then corrupted?
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Variable elements stemming from the aftermath of World War I, such as economical, social, and political conditions, helped shape and develop the concept and practice of modernism, which was a reaction to the tension of the aforementioned war. This style encompassed industrialism by using new methods (cubism, futurism, dynamism) and materials (glass and metal) and the designer’s role that was more thoroughly coming into understanding. Even though it is thought to have emerged by French artists and designers, the beginnings of Art Moderne can be traced to years before the war, when French organizers wanted to have and international exhibition of modern decorative arts, planned in 1915 but eventually taking place in 1925 (The Paris Exposition of 1925).
A veteran of World War I, Walter Gropius, became director of Bauhaus, an influential advocate of ambivalence towards mass production and industrialization. (Raizman, pg. 140) A new theme of Art and Technology was launched from this institution. Mass media and the printing industry flourished during this time. New typefaces were developed, such as the one being used to type this post, Times New Roman. World War I was very influential in the time as well by the use of the government enlisting help from artists and illustrators to produce mass media of posters and billboards. Thus, trying to recruit soldiers, create a sense of national solidarity, and so forth. Another service of this mass media was for advertisement, which was being more commonly seen.
Contrasting recent previous styles, Modernism focused more on a machine-made environment (Raizman, pg 158) as a source of inspiration instead of the world of nature. Thus, creating new forms and techniques that would strive to liberate emotion and action by being dynamic. How was the reaction of current events evident in Modernism? And with that without those events, do you think design would have ever evolved into the industrialist ways it did? How has this style influence future designs and designs of our time?
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Along with finding new inspirations and influences Modernism is also credited for challenging designers in using new materials and techniques, such as interior furnishings and working with glass and metal (Raizman 147). An example of this can be seen in Armand Albert Rateau’s chaise lounge made of patinated bronze. This piece of furniture exemplifies characteristics that differ from the meandering curves of Art Nouveau.
With the examination of glass design on the rise designers were very interested in experimenting with a variety of techniques to permit individual and original expression in the medium (Raizman 148). A few of these techniques include “verre soufflé” of “bubble glass”, the idea of etching with acid to achieve contrast and textured effects, and an enameling technique called “pate de verre”. Early French glassmakers drew their inspiration from Emile Galle by examining the imperfections and techniques previously used. An important early twentieth century glassmaker is Rene Lalique who was originally trained as a jeweler and is recognized as creating some of the most celebrated examples of Art Nouveau jewelry design. He later gave up his precious gems and began experimenting with glass, transforming the ordinary and inexpensive material into a highly original work. Lalique’s glass designs are now recognized and admired for their purity and brilliance (Raizman 149).
With experimentation playing a huge role in Modernism design, how do you think this style has impacted our current designs? Do you think that evidence of this style is still visible today? If so, where?
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Eclecticism can be defined as the enthusiasm for the imitation of work of the past through historicism, revivalism, and traditionalism (Pile, 301). The overall idea of Eclecticism was that originality was forbidden and only an imitation of the past was acceptable (Pile, 302). This was a movement in which designers looked to the past for stylistic influences of periods such as Victorian, French-Renaissance, and Gothic and included monumental figures such as Richard Morris Hunt, McKim, Mead, & White, and George Herbert Wyman. Many of these important people came from a very influential school of architecture: The Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris. This particular school paved the way for future design school curriculum's, including our very own University of Kentucky.
Under this method, students were given a written "program" of requirements for a building desired by some imagined client. Each student then prepared designs under the direction of a "critic" who operated an atlier or studio. On a given date, all of the designs by the many students in a class were presented in the form of elaborate drawings to be criticized and judged by a "jury" of established professionals. High marks in many such judgements could earn a diploma that certified a high level of achievement and skill. The Beaux-Arts method was so successful it attracted students from all over the world, and the kind of design encouraged at the Ecole came to be called Beaux-Arts style. (Pile, 302)The program at Ecole can also be defined as a "rigorous and organized program, which included classroom lectures on history, construction, and other specialized topics" (Pile, 302). Richard Morris Hunt studied at Ecole and brought back his Parisian training to New York. His eclectic viewpoint made it possible for him to work in any style that suited a particular project or taste of a particular client (Pile, 302).
When examining UK's design program, how do you relate the teaching method of Ecole to our curriculum? What would design be like in today's world if there was no individualism? How would this affect our learning method at UK? Why is it important to have knowledge of past styles just to move on with the present/future? Here's a thought: Without past styles, how would we ever know what "modern" is?
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
Two individuals were highly influential in the confining of the role of Art Nouveau in America. These two people were Sullivan and Tiffany. Neither were opposed to ornament as they both used much of it in their designs. Sullivan was known as the pioneer of modernism, and was the advocate of “form follows function”. (Pile, 295) Sullivan’s actual personal term of Art Nouveau was related to detail. Interiors and details continued to use nature based, florid ornament. He based his design around Curving art nouveau forms, which was later changed by one of his most significant students, Frank Lloyd Wright. Wright took his ideas and began to incorporate a more geometric design of his own. (Pile ,298) Tiffany used ornament through stained glass design. His designs were used in “residences, clubs, and similar locations his landscapes, floral, and semi abstract themes showed increasing similarity to French Nouveau work in glass.” (Pile, 296)
American Art Nouveau was looked at by many as a “style that failed”, or to dismissing it as “frivolous, tasteless, and even overly decorative.” (Pile, 299) But it wasn’t until World War II when the style was rediscovered and new studies brought it back into it’s rightful place. Do you think that Art Nouveau was a crucial step in the development of modernism and design today? Do you think that the ideas of these men of ornament and aesthetics are overshadowed by function in any cases today? How has recent interest in the Art Nouveau era established these designers as major figures in the movement?
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
In this period in time, the public began to dislike the way their economy was running. Factories mass produced furniture in hopes to lower the cost so the middle class could afford to furnish their homes with the new fashion trends. “The development of the Modern movement can be seen as the battle for and against the machine (Tate 257).” Some people enjoyed the cost efficient pieces of furniture being mass produced because they were abundant. However, others believed machines took the designer out of the design process. The buyer may have to pay slightly more in cost, but they receive a high quality handcrafted product in return. Did the Aesthetic movement have an impact on design throughout history? These people rejected the thought of bettering our technology with machines because they thought it took away from the craftsmanship of the current designers. Do you think our advanced technology today sometimes takes away from the craftsmanship? The goal of this movement was to return value to the complex design process, and appreciate designers of the age. Do we sometimes take for granted the thought process and amount of effort it takes to design a single piece of furniture?
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Monday, September 15, 2008
In the nineteenth century, the middle class was beginning to grow and gain power; the people learned how to turn the Industrial Revolution into a source of wealth (Pile). By 1851, goods that were once rare and only affordable to the wealthy upper class had become easy to make and were inexpensive. This made it easy for the middle class to decorate their homes with materials and accessories to show off their rank on the social ladder, much like the upper class had.
However, this need or demand for more goods did not come without a price. Factory and mill owners, like the middle class, began to gain more wealth and even more power. Explain the extent of the factory owner’s power. What are some pros and cons of the factory owners holding so much power? And how did their power influence the nineteenth century and the Victorian Style?
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.