Monday, September 22, 2008

Aesthetic Movement B

The idea of the Aesthetic Movement was to encourage people to turn away from machines and remember the days when the designer played every role in the design process. It is important to appreciate the work and effort put into a specific design. That value is lost when mass produced with machinery. Writers and designers of this time wanted the public to support the work of the artists opposed to the factories. Designers wrote books and published catalogues to simply inspire readers to use their imaginations and support hand craftsmanship. English writer and art critic, John Ruskin, heavily admired the crafts of the Middle Ages, and wanted to help bring that handiwork back through social change (Raizman 107). He encouraged designers to produce designs that reflected pride and craftsmanship (Raizman 108).
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?

12 comments:

nicoLe said...

Many good points were raised here, that I had been curious of myself. Now, as we move into the study of the aesthetic or "arts and crafts" movement, we begin to see an emphasis on craftsmanship once again. In the victorian era, it was not enough hand crafted work. But it begins to be too much in the aesthetic movement. Without the machine, goods became pricey and it was harder to mass produce them. I believe it was about finding that happy medium. Learning to work with the machine as well as the artists to create pieces was crucial in the development we see in later years. Today we have technology that is so advanced, that designers and artists often convey ideas through computer generated images. This is advanced, however the art is not lost. without those people working "behind the scenes" to create the art, there would be no fiished products. So one may not appreciate individual pieces of art, furniture, etc. to the extent that it was previously but by using these item to carry out daily routines it is evident that the wolrd appreciates the work of an artist, even if it is in a different way!

Jessica Brake said...

I feel that the Aesthetic Movement had an impact on design because it made people start to question the use of machines. More and more designers, such as John Ruskin and William Morris, began stressing the beauty of hand-crafted products and expressed their dislike towards machines. Although this movement didn’t last, because today we are still using machines, I think that at the time it was having a huge impact on the way craftsmen were building their pieces.
Today we are so caught up in mass-production and doing whatever we can to bring in the most money I sometimes feel that we miss what Ruskin and Morris were trying to get across. Most of our products are so “cookie cutter” that they don’t carry the unique craftsmanship and indivualism that was once found in hand-crafted products. Now granted, we live in a much faster paced world and the demand for products is so high that if everything were hand-crafted it would take forever to distribute them across the world. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m afraid we sometimes forget how complex the process of craftsmanship and construction is because we are so used to relying on machines to do the work for us. If the Aesthetic Movement had lasted longer than it did would I wonder if we’d still be making hand-crafted products or if machines would’ve taken over like they have already done.

Katie Bluhm said...

As a designer (well hopefully soon) I defiantly think people take for granted the work and thought put into design. When the average person walks into a space, they don’t stop and notice the things that we thought long and hard about before the finished product. For example, there is a video on UK’s website that shows the plans for the new hospital that is being built. When I watched the video, I took notice of all of the design decisions and the details of each space. When my friend watched it, all he could say at the end was ‘’cool.’’ I know that he thinks the overall design is exciting and that it “looks good,” but he doesn’t care about the color scheme, or the elements and principles. He doesn’t take note of the things that I did. When I watched the video, I kept asking questions about the decisions the designer made. Why did they choose glass over wood? Why did they curve the stairs instead of make them straight? Why did they choose those colors for that space? The possible answers are racing through my mind, while my friend has already moved on to something else. The majority of people don’t walk into a hospital and think, “wow, this is a really nice carpet choice.” It just doesn’t matter to them. That interest was lost when we began using machines. The leaders of the Arts & Crafts Movement tried to bring the interest back to the craftsmanship part of the design, and the design itself, but it was too late. Society will never have the same interest in the foundation of design as they did before the Industrial Revolution. Maybe it’s time that we as designers should make them.

Chris Jones said...

I do believe that the Aesthetic Movement has had an impact on our history, even today. Just like the past times, the present also present high prices for objects that are handmade. For instance, a vase that was produced on a potter's wheel is obviously going to cost more than a vase made in a factory. More time and effort have to be put into the overall design process, therefore making the designer charge for not only the product, but the time and labor as well. I also believe that designers in today's society are still not fully credited for their work. Consumers usually just see the end product of design and don't really think about the whole process of getting there. Take the brand new Volvo XC60 for instance (which I blogged about on here and I think you should check it out...it deals a lot with things we've learned about even as ID students...and because I'm obsessed with Volvo), the consumer usually sees what the final product is. They don't even really know the designers behind the work. They don't understand how much time and work and effort was put into creating something so beautiful. It's almost like society takes the design process for granted. Not all of society is educated in the design process, and I think this is why they (and I say "they" because we know about the design process as design students) don't fully credit the design to the specific designer. Most of our things are made by machine anyway, so it's hard to say who designed it.

Kelsey said...

I believe that because of the industrial revolution, the playing field was leveled across society. Objects that were once rare and foreign to the common person became accessible due to cost. With this brought positives and negatives, as we talked about in last week’s blog. However, because cost went down, so did the value of the products, which were being produced in mass quantities. The aesthetic movement really challenged this new concept. I believe today we have a combination of both an aesthetic/ arts and crafts movement as well as an industrial movement right now. Although it never really overcame the industrial revolution, I believe the arts and crafts made a mark. Today custom built or designed objects (although still more expensive) continues to be a specialized field. There is a certain pride which designer take in their work. For example the work that we are doing in studio today. What we do is highly crafted. We research every detail we can think of, draw, scratch out, draw again, re-work, re-think, measure, and ultimately we will (hopefully) get to build. Our art is highly crafted, although some aspects are still industrial, we really have our hands on every aspect of the craft (or at least should). I believe the whole idea of interior design would really please the aesthetic or arts and craft movement founders, like William Morris or John Ruskins. But to answer the question about whether or not I believe we take advantage of the thought process and amount of effort it takes to design a single piece of furniture, I say, yes on a daily basis, but when it really comes down to it, absolutely not. I understand how much work it takes, because I have only done half the work, and I understand how much work is involved.

Amy Clark said...

I don't believe that the Aesthetic Movement had a permanent, lasting effect on design throughout history. At the time, it definitely had an impact on society and brought about awareness of art and craftsmanship versus the use of machinery. However, in the long run, it didn't stop the advancement and use of machines. There is no disputing the value, quality and unique characteristics of handmade items, but time and money are key factors for most people. So the idea brought forth during this reform that designers and artists create everything is not very realistic. Frank Lloyd Wright (his early work related to the arts and crafts principles) said "the dream for a democratic architecture could only be achieved by embracing the machine, which saved time and reduced drudgery" (Raizman, 126). Our current methods of production for most commercial goods are dramatically different from the goal of the Aesthetic Movement. Technology is always progressing and with that improving the quality of products; today, you can find mass produced items that are of high quality. Therefore, on a certain level, technology does take away from craftsmanship. Craftmanship still exists but on a much smaller scale than what reformers like Ruskin and Morris had desired. You can still find styles that developed during this period like Mission style furniture but the philosophy of the aesthetic movement did not have a lasting impact on design. I feel that society in general doesn't give alot of thought to the proces, skill, methods or effort it takes to design a piece of furniture. As long as it is readily available, people will take it for granted. If you have an interest in design as we do, you definitely have a greater appreciation for and understanding of what goes into creating something.

Meredith J. said...

I believe the quote that you pulled from the Tate reading sums it all up. It really was a battle between the pro-machine and anti-machine. I think that back then, people had a struggle between wanting a popular piece, but they also wanted something that was hand-crafted or crafted extremely well. But with the machine, that wasn't always possible. Ruskin believed in the dignity of the decorative arts and elevated the view of labor (Raizman 108). William Morris had the same ideas in that he refused to use machines because he felt that making a product was more of a collaboration between the designer and craftsman and felt that the quality of the piece was lost when made on or will a machine. Today, there is still the struggle, although it may not be as prevalent and on the front line as it used to be, but there is still the struggle between hand-crafted products that may be expensive, but have extremely great quality, versus those pieces that you can order right out of the catalog for a lower price and possibly lower quality. I do think that our advancements in technology can detract from and have certain impacts on products because it may be easy to make a product, but you never know when a step could be skipped and you may get a faulty product.

Carrie R. said...

I believe that the Industrial Revolution had a much more lasting effect on society than the Aesthetic movement. Although during the Aesthetic movement, people became much more in tune and appreciative of handcrafted items rather than machine made items, in the end machines were the lasting solution to creating products. Yes, handcrafted items became a lot more appreciated at the time because of how time consuming it was to make, which resulted in higher prices, but because of the Industrial Revolution mass production was what everyone wanted. Handcrafted items were much more time consuming and expensive to produce. I think that today we have lost what John Ruskin and William Morris tried to convince society. They stressed the beauty and hard work of hand crafted products. They preferred this work over machine work and wanted everyone else to follow in their path. I think today the normal human being does not take the time to really analyze what has been created by different artists and really consider what kind of work may have gone into creating it. Most just say “oh that looks good”, or “I like it” and then move on. We as designers have been trained to look past the aesthetics and take into consideration all of the thought and work behind each design that we witness. But besides us, there are very few today who actually take the time to appreciate these things just like what was trying to be conveyed in the Aesthetic movement.

Lindsey Calvin said...

I do believe that technology has had a dramatic effect on the quality and craftsmanship of products and furniture made today. Technology has made it possible to produce things more quickly and efficiently but often quality is sacrificed. Things start out expensive and well made but as the demand for these products goes up, price goes down and production increases which results in a decrease in quality. Along with a decrease in quality there is also a lack of originality in todays society. Since things are so easily mass produced it takes away the aspect of new designs for each individual. So yes I would say that we do take for granted the thought process that results in new designs. In older times designers, painters, and craftsmen worked together to make unique designs for the elite. No one else had these designs. Soon after, catalogs were developed and many people could have the same design. Then as technology became more advanced more of one product could be made which means fewer new designs were evolving

Parahita Rachmani said...

I would not necessarily say that our technology today takes away from fine craftsmanship. Although mass production did lead to the lack of originality on artworks, it raised the question of how art can reach and relate to all classes of society, including the middle class. Using technology does not mean that the end product is always bad. For example, modern architects and interior designers take advantage of the use of computer-aided program, such as AutoCad and Sketch Up for drafting purposes because those programs not only save these designers their time, but they also help them achieve accurate drawings, including dimension and measurement before they hand those drawings in to the constructors. In addition, if we think about it, designers and artists are humans, and they do make mistakes. I am pretty sure that they do not always produce pieces with perfect craftsmanship throughout their career.

Meaghan Boenig said...

Gina brought up a good point in her discussion blog (Aesthetic Movement A): design follows a path of highs and lows. Although the Industrial Revolution is viewed as the period where art, design, and “taste” declined or decreased, it was necessary. It was the first time people began to recognize the power in machines, which as we already learned had a major impact on society and design. Thus the Industrial Revolution can represent both a high and a low in design. In this way, I feel the Aesthetic Movement is very similar to the Industrial Revolution; the Aesthetic Movement was both good and bad. As a design student I’ve been taught to appreciate the design process and the hard work that goes into creating a design - whether it is furniture, hardware, a textile pattern, etc. This is why I believe the Aesthetic Movement was important to design. The Aesthetic Movement centered on designers and their desire to create high quality, yet inexpensive, hand-crafted products. Designers wanted to imitate the medieval guilds and move away from the mass production of the machines by making one-of-a-kind pieces. They brought back beauty in their designs, which is one thing many people felt machine-made products were lacking. However, the Aesthetics Movement had its down fall. Designers quickly realized that their designs were too expensive for any common man to buy, which defeated their whole philosophy. The designers’ rare, high-quality pieces were once again only affordable to the wealthy. Although both of these movements had low points, I believe they were both very influential to design in the past and played a major role in shaping the way we make designs today. The outcomes of the Industrial Revolution and the Aesthetics Movement demonstrate to us that a balance between designers and machines is needed in order to create products that are of high-quality and are affordable enough for everyone, not just the wealthy.

carrie w said...

I believe that the Aesthetic movement definitely had a huge impact on design throughout history. People would not think of design or machine crafting the same way today if it were not for the Aesthetic movement. Also the technology we use today takes away from the craftsmen ship that was originally intended for many things that we use in everyday life. Honestly how many things do you have in your home that are truly hand made? Maybe only a handful maybe none at all. It is crazy to think that a long time ago every possession that you owned was handcrafted. I am not saying that machinery has done great things for all of man kind. We as people would not have 3/4 of the material goods we have today if it was not for these technological advancements. We do take advantage of these advancements as well. I know that i do not stop and take the time to think about the wooden chair in my kitchen. The difference in time it took to create that chair by hand compared to a machine crafted one is undeniable. So we really all should take the time to appreciate the things we have and who took the time to design and actually create them.

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.