Monday, October 27, 2008

Modernism

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?

19 comments:

olivia said...

The current situation of our economy today unfortunately is starting to relate to the time of the Great Depression. In terms of design, one of the main issues is that people aren't willing to spend a great deal of money. Designers are having to come up with new materials and techniques to create buildings and objects that are less expensive. In our current economy, people are becoming desperate with regards to being frugal with their money. In order for designers and architects to stay in business, they must adapt to this change. I don't think our current economy has gotten as bad as the Great Depression, but at the moment, we are heading in that direction. With regards to green design, this form of sustainability is vastly becoming more sought after. People are taking the state of our economy into consideration when looking for designs. Green design is reusable and is eco-friendly. In order to keep up with the economy, green design will have to continue evolving and become more user friendly. People need to feel comfortable and not overwhelmed with the new direction of design.

Meredith J. said...

Today, we are definitely sort-of starting to sneak up on situations seen during the Great Depression. Our economy has taken an unfortuante dip over the past couple of months and designers are being affected just as much. I think that we have been industrial designers for a long time, but it just hasn't been as prominent as it was during the days of the Great Depression. I don't think that green design will change necesarily. I think that the amount used may change, but the ideas and philosophies will stay the same. I think that economic issues are also being thought about in terms of green design; it may be expensive in the beginning, but the pay-off in years to come can be beneficial and cost-effective to the building/business. But then again, as the saying goes, "the times, they are a'changin'," you never know what may be in one day and out the next.

Jessica Brake said...

I think our nation is undergoing a serious economic crisis, which is very similar to what our country experienced with the Great Depression. We are slowly experiencing what it feels like to be tight with money and learning that we have to use and spend it wisely. As for design, I think this situation could greatly affect the way we work. The way I see it is that if people can’t afford to move/buy houses then they most likely won’t be looking to renovate or remodel their houses in order to put on the market, leaving residential designers without much work. Or in other cases, the average American won’t be able to afford the high price of “designer” materials and styles that we as designers will have to adapt to the needs and circumstances of our clientele, making our work affordable to everyone. As a side note, in the future I foresee many designers looking towards commercial design as the need for schools, hospitals, and larger buildings will continue to be in demand as the population grows.
As for green design, I agree with what Olivia said. With the way our economy is looking if anyone is going to spend the extra money on design they will most likely look to see if it will benefit the environment and be sustainable for many years. People are going to want to get the most out of their money, I know I would.

AinsleyW said...

The only comforting thing about our economic situation today is that we do have the pattern of the Great Depression to look at. The stock market has crashed before, in a big way, and that gives us a chance to know how to avoid that same situation. For that reason alone I think that we're going to be okay, eventually.
However, as designers, and as people I've already seen the ideals of green design being compromised for the sake of meeting a budget. Ethically we all know the recycled, no VOC's, sustainable material product is the best product to support. In the long term green products will be better to the earth and will be better to us because they will last longer. But because of everyone's economic situation it's all about short term thinking now. Green design, in its fledging state, is unfortunately still a luxury. We can get the materials we need to satisfy an apathetic client without paying extra for sustainable products. Maybe green design will be forced to come down in price even though it costs more to make, or maybe it will die out the way the Arts and Crafts handmade goods eventually died out. Sometimes the best idea will not survive in a capitalist market, but other times it will- it may just have to adjust.

Carrie R. said...

This situation relates to today because we are currently having troubles with our economy. It very much relates to the Great Depression, but on a smaller level. People want to save their money, and in a result, they are not spending it on today’s design. I think that designers are taking some steps towards industrial design through cheaper, alternative materials, and less expensive processes of design, as well as construction. This will fulfill the people’s financial situations, but will still continue the growth of design at the same time. Although green design is growing more and more popular every day, it can be somewhat expensive. It is also not something everyone is completely familiar with. Some may be skeptical about how pricey it may be in the beginning, but the future is what green design is all about. It is reusable and can do the environment a great deal of good, and if this can continue to grow, it will be beneficial for everyone years to come.

Carrie.Marcum said...

This situation relates today because our country is going through a really hard time. Just like it went through a really hard time during the Great Depression. More and more people are cutting back on their costs and many others are losing their homes and jobs. Designer today, just like in the past, need to think of ways to bring great design so that everyone can afford it. That way people don’t see at as just a luxury. I would say its up to us if we want to become industrial designers. To help out in these hard times why not become industrial designer? Great architects of this time have done industrial design! Examples include: Michael Graves, Design for All at Target & Karim Rashid with the Dirt Devil Kone. I would say that it is not as bad as the Great Depression but you never know where is might go. Green design overall is going to need to become cheaper to produce. Right now green products are more expenseive to make, with our country on this down turn we are going to need to make green design cheaper for everyone to be able to afford this great new way of thinking and living.

Amy Clark said...

Our country is going through an economic crisis and people in general are watching their spending. Right now, I'm not buying things that aren't necessary (unless it's a really good deal!). When working with residential clients, designers can use products that range in price from high-end to more economical (every extreme exists out there). People who use interior designers usually understand that they will be paying for the designers time. I work for a residental design firm that also has a retail store front. The design part of our business is still doing well; however, the retail segment has suffered greatly. People who can afford designers are continuing to do so. Average shoppers, on the other hand, have stopped buying more expensive, unneccessary items. I also work for a commercial design firm, and the business there remains steady. So in answering the question, no I don't believe that we will have to become industrial designers. In regards to green design, I think that manufacturers/designers, etc. should be focusing on ways to reduce the cost of green products. I also feel that designers should be well educated on this subject (not new designers neccessarily, but desingers who have been practicing for many years). Several of the residential designers I work with won't even suggest green alternatives because of the cost as well as a lack of knowledge on their part. Consumers also need to be more informed about green design. I don't think it will die out, but the higher cost in this economy is somewhat prohibitive.

carrie w said...

How does it not relate to today?!? Our economy today is in a spiral downfall. If things to not change, at the rate we are going there will be another great depression. Our economy today is really not as bad as it was during those hard times but is definitely not good. I think we will have to become industrial designers, not in the fact of assembly lines or anything of that sort. But we do need to find new ways of creating things that is eco-friendly and inexpensive.
Along with all of this, green design is a concept that a lot of people do not understand. The trend is growing because we are now seeing the effects of what we do on the environment. Even though it is a great thing already, it will have to evolve and change some. First of all a lot of the products that are green that are just coming out seem so far out there, they are not things that people are comfortable with yet. It need to change into common things that people use everyday, starting small and then moving to cars that run on mowed grass( just and exaggeration). Once it becomes small parts of our everyday lives, then we can incorporate it fully.

Molly Rowland said...

The time of the Great Depression in America is very similar to our present day economy. Although the affect of the withering economy is at a much smaller scale, there is still a large response.
Today's economy is forcing Americans to take notice of their spending. Luxuries are no longer important, and cheaper, more efficient goods are being created and purchased.
Although this time in America will not be remembered as a good one, there seems to be some positive changes. For example, green design is at the height of its popularity. Without a depleating economy, Americans would never have been pushed to consider, as well as integrate green design into their everyday lives.
In conclusion, I view this time in history as similar to the time of the Great Depression, in that it is yet another learning experience that will push modern design even further.

Shannon S said...

This situation relates to today because at the current time our economy is not in good shape. Everyone is pinching their pennies. At this time, as interior designers, we will be forced to be constantly looking for ways that we can keep the cost of our designs affordable for the middle class, and not just the wealthy. Personally, I enjoy creating something out of something else that is found at a discount store, or a garage sale. It may be a challenge to always keep the cost low, but it should be something we should strive for being as we know from personal experience how hard it is to "just get by". (pinching pennies) Green Design is important to the economy and the environment. I think all designers should be required to work toward green design in an attempt to help protect our environment.

Kayla.E said...

This Situation relates to today in various ways. Except in our world today 'style' changes so rapidly its almost hard to keep up with or have a set 'style' to tie everyone to. Though much like during this time period, today we crave nex technology and the advancements it will bring to us to help my our lives easier and more efficient. As far as becoming industrial designers ourselves, i think that it is every designers job to create something that is affordable as well as attractive to a certain extent.
I don't know if our current economy is as equally as bad..yet..but i'm sure that its on its way there. With so many people in debt and the unemployment we are not far from it. Green design is becoming more and more popular during our time. It is helping make our environment a much user friendly and safer place to live. To me i wouldn't think that it would have to change that much, other than being more of a demand than a choice.

maggie clines said...

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maggie clines said...

As seen before, history has a way of repeating itself. The economy today is going through a similar situation as the great depression; however the issues and reasons are somewhat different. I feel that because of our nations past, we have a better chance of avoiding such a disaster as the great depression; however the issues of today have a very great chance of surpassing the level of despair that was the great depression.
Because our country has seen what economic problems can do to, we as a whole are more willing to change now to avoid a downfall. I feel when America sets its mind to do something, it can be done, however I'm not sure if the preparations being taken now will prevent possible problems to come.
I also feel that the cause of "going green" is becoming more commercial and more of a selling opportunity to than an actual cause. I do feel that as a whole we are definitely making a difference and realizing that the way we design and live our lives must change if we hope to create a healthier lifestyle, though i still feel like there is resistance to change. It will take full dedication and commitment to green design to truly make a significant difference in our economy. But if this does happen, there will be a more promising future for many generations to come.

Elizabeth Chaffin said...

The economy today is starting to mirror that of the Great Depression. It hasn't hit as big as that time time period, but is starting to show characteristics similar to it. What people once spent on "common" everyday things, is now being cut back to purchase necessary items. These once everyday purchases, are now mostly considered luxuries. Since design is thought as a luxury, the field is beginning to show effects of it. People want to conserve their money to purchase the necessary items while holding back on the aesthetic items or services that bring pleasure. Designers in general have had to consider this change in economy by finding new methods or products in their designs so that the common person now (one who is willing to shell out what little they can) can afford this "luxury". The state of the environment and the eventual effect it has on our economy has driven people to consider alternative methods in products, design, and life in general. Green design, has taken into consideration the harsh affects past products and production methods have taken on our environment and the hardships it has thrown upon our economy. Even though some of these "green" products can be expensive, it's only the beginning. Many are starting to catch on, and eventually these ideas will be the norm and as conventional as its precedents.

Sabrina said...

Green Design quite possibly could be the answer we are looking for in this age of a weak economy. Creating high-quality, efficient design that is inexpensive has been the goal of designers for many, many years. Especially in a time of economic despair, such as today and during the Great Depression, inexpensive, efficient design is very popular with all people. Green design is already concerned with the reduction of materials circulating in the world and with the reuse of those already out there. Thus, green design is a concept that deals with creating high-quality goods/spaces out of the least possible amount of material in order to avoid unnecessary waste. Therefore, green design is promoting simpler design concentrated on an environmentally-safe use of materials and goods altogether. It is clear then, that Green design would be a practical application for times of economic disgruntle because it presents a simpler design front concentrated on the use of less goods, creating a more cost-efficient design. However, Green design is still new and not every green method is cost-efficient, but could if it caught on with a great deal of people. Thus, this time of economic downfall signals the opportunity of developing green design into a powerhouse style/ type of design for the twenty first century. The development of green design could even encourage the economy along in a positive fashion.

Julie said...

I’m very concerned for our futures. It worries me with the economy the way it is that our futures won’t be as set as we thought they might have been in the interior design field. I don’t want to be an industrial designer. I want to thrive in an economy full of money able to afford the luxury of design. I don’t know that it will get as bad as it has in the past but I do see it affecting the design field. I see us having to scale back out designs and resorting to simplicity and sacristy of materials to where we have to focus more on the architecture to make spaces look appealing. This gives way to green design and the increasing interest it has been producing. I think it’s a great idea! This saves so many designs from becoming caught up in the non-important things and takes advantage of all the good that can come out of design. Green design is like a way to start conserving for our future so later on we won’t have to totally change and scale back when the economy drops.

J_Ayares said...

Although our nation's current economic crisis has not nearly reached the level of the great depression, it has been said that we are going through the greatest recession since then. If nothing is done to turn the situation around, then I feel it will continue to head downhill. Any kind of economic trouble creates a great deal of concern among the people, sometimes to the degree of panic. Money becomes a main topic of concern and people are much less willing to spend it when they feel that their finances or jobs are threatened. Therefore, any industry that deals more with "luxury" goods or services tends to suffer during such times. Unfortunately, interior design is one of them. In trying to save money, more people will tend to resort to do-it-yourself books so as not to spend as much on redesigning spaces. Others will just go without redesigning those spaces altogether. They will be much less willing to pay someone else to do it for them. For this reason, as during the Great Depression, interior designers must find cheaper, more economic design alternatives in terms of materials, and construction techniques. We, in a way, must also become more industrial designers to meet theses needs. We must find ways to create aesthetically appealing products and spaces without unnecessary costly ornamentation. Otherwise, we might find ourselves in greater economic trouble!

Meaghan Boenig said...

I agree with Olivia that the current situation of our economy is very similar to the time of the Great Depression. And designers today are definitely affected by this. Because people are feeling financially strained, there are not too many people who are willing to spend their money on things that aren’t absolutely necessary; and design unfortunately falls under that category for many. I order to keep design “alive” designers must model what designers of the Great Depression did: find an alternative way to make design more affordable. And I think designers are doing an okay job at that. Take the HGTV or TLC channels on TV for example. These channels feature shows like “Trading Spaces” and “Design on a Dime,” which focus on designing a room on a small budget. The designers in these shows come up what creative, yet inexpensive ways of designing and decorating homes.

Christa Mueller said...

Though our economy appears to be following a path that may lead us to a second Great Depression, I don't beleive that the design philosophies are quite as similar. Yes, both times are trying to be more frugal in expensses, but the philosophies are different. During the Great Depression frugality was practiced out of temporary necessity. Now, the frugality seems to be a move towards an attempt at a lifestyle change. We are practicing more of a frugality of resources in an attempt to preserve the nature of our world. We won't know until later on if this will change to a necessity or not. But either way, it can only result in good.

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.