We should all apologize to Nikil Saval, author of Cubed: The Secret History of the Work Place. We design buffs, I mean, because this book is all about design history, sociology, economics and psychology. It should be a best seller, if we lived up to what they claim to be our design values. The history of the office, from Bartelby and Scrooge to Office Space is a rich terrain. And was the Aeron chair really adapted from a chair designed for nursing homes?
One of the world’s most important collections of twentieth-century design—the Stewart Collection in Montreal—celebrates its thirtieth anniversary in 2010. The Stewart Collection incorporates iconic furniture, ceramics, textiles, posters, graphic art, jewelry, and everyday objects from the 1930s to today.[ more info ]
THE CENTURY OF MODERN DESIGN
Edited with Introduction by David A. Hanks
Hardcover / 480 pages / 500 illustrations
US $49.95 / Can $59.00
Flammarion, distributed by Rizzoli through Random House
<a href="about phil patton
can you guess date of realization?
left: peter behrens
left: werner max moser
left: sophie taeuber arp
left: rossler porzellen
left: paul burri
many of these objects seem sensible and elegant solutions, in response to human needs. what makes their date of origin a bit tricky to nail down? curious about the designer’s design criteria at the time and wondering how history plays into the solutions. [images from the collections of the museum für gestaltung zurich]
answers: 1) 1900 2) 1900 3) 1902 4) 1905 5) 1909 6) 1918 7) 1918 8) 1923 9) 1928 10) 1930s 11) 1929 12) 1931 13) 1931 14) 1933 15) 1934 16) 1935 17) 1936 18) 1938 19) 1944 20) 1945 21) 1952 22) 1955 23) 1955 24) 1957 25) 1948 26) 2008 27) 2008
essay on the revival of beauty in the 21st-century design. by julie lasky via designobserver [RK]
a design history question. when was this chair designed? to what art genre does it belong?
if you would have said early 80s and maybe designed by peter shire that would have been a good answer. but you would be wrong.
above: bel air arm chair designed by peter shire in 1982 while with the memphis group.
the pink chair was designed in 1968, and by someone you may never have heard of, unless you’re an insider in british design circles. her name is jane dillon. below is a picture of jane, sitting in one of her other late 60s chairs.
in the late 60s as a recent graduate of the royal college of art she found her way to the milan studio of ettore sottsass. for the most part she worked on color studies for a line of olivetti office furniture for sottsass . and she also worked out some absolutely amazing chair designs.
dillon gave the victoria & albert museum some of her archival materials, including the pictures included in this blog post. above are one of the earliest development drawings – with a tentative title of ‘T-Time,’ a reference to the idea of including an integral table in the design – and a geometric study showing the plan of the chair as if viewed from above.
below is another motion study, a quick sketch in red pen. the two vignettes at lower left again show the chair in use from above. the idea being shown is that as the sitter shifts her weight from side to side, the seat beneath her (and the other elements of the chair) will move on a swivel joint.
as stylish as the chair looks today dillon’s felt it was mainly an exercise in dynamic ergonomics. the motion study above indicates this, but it’s clearer still in the final preparatory drawing below, which shows how three of the chair’s four parts swivel in coordination according to the user’s shifting posture. she thought of it as a functionalist experiment, more late bauhaus or gerrit rietveld than pop or postmodern.
the chair was put into limited production by a company called planula – sottsass made the connection for her – and was produced in several variations of shape and color, including the green version below. it was received well by the design community and it was reproduced in the magazine domus. in 1972 the chair was nearly included in an important exhibition about italian design at the museum of modern art called ‘the new domestic landscape’. unfortunately the curators decided dillon didn’t count as italian.
dillon has also designed for habitat, herman miller, and cassina. she went back to the royal college of art to teach, and more recently, she has teamed up with designer tom grieves ( studio dillon ) plus to experiment with innovative environmentally sustainable furniture; keeping up to date today seems to be more important to her than having been ahead of the curve in 1968. still, she’s able to marvel at what she came up with back then. “it’s the most amazing kind of object. only when it’s in use does it become a new kind of chair.” she was made an honorary fellow of the royal college of art in 2006.
dillon’s experimentations and her association with sottsass was timely, as 10 years later sottsass assembled the memphis group, composed of italian designers and architects who created a series of products in 1981. they disagreed with the approach of the time and challenged the idea that products had to follow conventional shapes and colors and textures and patterns. the group’s theoretical concepts mixed 20th century styles, colors and materials, positioned itself as a fashion rather than an academic movement, and hoped to erase the international style where postmodernism had failed, preferring an outright revival and continuation of modernism proper rather than a re-reading of it.[original story]
peter shire–la curbed
michele de lucchi
nathalie du pasquier
ronan and erwan bouroullec
Spiekermann delightfully takes us back, circa 1928, to what it was like to compose ( set type ) and letterpress print in the early days. via blueprint [RK]
I came across an olivetti typewriter for sale on ( surprising to me ) urban outfitters.
The typewriter and company brought back memories of ad campaigns running from the 50s – 70s. It’s where I discovered Italian design, Milton Glazer, Walter Balmer.
above: designed by giovanni pintori for the olivetti saldiermaschinen via ninonbooks
above: designed by giovanni pintori for the olivetti studio 44 via ninonbooks
above: designed by ettore sottsass for the olivetti valentine – 1969 ( note various artists commissioned to the valentine, branding 101 ) via ninonbooks
above: designed by milton glaser for the olivetti valentine – 1969 via ninonbooks
above: designed by Egidio Bonfante for the Olivetti Valentine – 1970 via ninonbooks
above: designed by yoshitaro isaka for the olivetti valentine – 1969 via ninonbooks
above: designed by paul rand for the olivetti lettera 22 – 1953 via ninonbooks
above: designed by Walter Ballmer for the Olivetti Lettera 32 – 1964 (christmas) via ninonbooks
above: 1957 Christmas print ad for Olivetti Typewriters. via ninonbooks
above: designed by roberto pieracini for the olivetti exhibition via ninonbooks
above: designed by walter ballmer for the olivetti exibition – 1961 via ninonbooks
Editor’s note: this post inspires more research… Some employees of Getronics Italia ( who bought Olivetti ) have asked Beppe Grillo to give visibility to their story. Goodbye computer industry.
above: sketch of the famous ‘valentina’ typewriter by ettore sottsass
100 years of olivetti in italy
the invisible agent
george lois ( i like lois but “agency vision” gets brain cramp )
973 third avenue
olivetti portable typewriter gallery
olivetti, una bella società
ivrea and olivetti
associazione archivio storico olivetti
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