Monday, November 10, 2008

International Modernism (B)

Following WWII every country in its own way focused on marrying economy and efficiency, joining good design with practicality, or as Raizman summarized it, they all ‘dealt with the humanization of science’ 267. Along the way each of them explored the relationships between inspiration from the organic and experimentation with new technologies. In Scandinavia the lava-lamp curves of Anne Jacobsen’s Egg chair and the straight-from-nature radial forms of Poul Henningson’s lamps are an expression of the organic, while Gertrude Vasegaard’s porcelain tea service explored the more utilitarian side of new materials.
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.


Sabrina said...

American organically inspired products and spaces seem to be connected to sustainable design. Green design dictates a type of product motivated by and constructed through an environmentally-protective sense. Thus, the sense to protect the organic forms of the outdoors has become a sense of design. Although, not directly influenced by the curvilinear lines of nature, green design has been influenced by the sense of importance of protecting those curvilinear intricacies.

Industry continues to inspire design through a want to create and then utilize new products, materials and technologies. For example, the company called Free Form continues to make new finish materials with new additives for increased detail, color variation, and texture variation. The want to create as many options as possible for designers and consumers has been influenced by the seemingly limitless nature of today’s technology.

Upon considering the influences active on today’s American design, I believe that there has been a great decrease in the tension between organically and industrially inspired designs since the International Modernism period. Organic and industrial design have taken up arms together in order to create successful design. Green design must use today’s modern technology in order to reuse materials over and over again and in order to make sustainability affordable for all. In turn, industrial design has become more “green” in order to make such ideas have positive, rather than negative, impacts on our world and its health status. Design today has become much more interdisciplinary and thus, more effective on its users.

Veronica said...

I believe that wars or civil conflicts have always been a cause of change in lifestyle and society, and therefore a change in design and architecture.
As this war in the Middle East has been the burden and cause of the recession we are experiencing these days, design and lifestyle have changed.
If on one hand I see the increasing use and approach of design to sustainability, I feel like designers and architects have moved away from organic forms. If they use natural and recyclable materials for their designs, these one have instead preferred straight, more geometrical line and shapes that have a tendency to develop vertically. I am specifically speaking about skyscrapers that now more than ever are being built all around the world, not only in the US, but also and especially in the Middle East and other regions of Asia. Thanks to this war and tension over oil, cities like Dubai, that strongly depend on the Western world to buy their oil, have experienced a total change in their lifestyle and aesthetics of their designs.
I believe that, now more than ever before, this war has caused a substantial change in design and it is affecting its outcome on the lifestyle of our society.

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.