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Development of Technologies and Design

The work of past and present designers 26/06/2011


Introduction This section will cover: Design movements with relation to consumer products The inherent influences of socio-economic changes




• To have an understanding of design movements • To understand how socio-economic changes have impacted on design.






Key historical Design movements or designers • You need to be familiar with influential designers or design ‘movements’ that have made significant contribution to product design. • In this lesson I will introduce a small number but you will have to research design history a little more in-depth. • The Bauhaus and modernism • Post Modernism • The Memphis group • The Arts and Craft movement • Philippe Starke


Further reading Icons of design-the 20th century-prestel A century of design-mitchell Beazley Bauhaus-Bauhaus archivtaschen Memphis-Bridgette FitoussiThames and Hudson Philippe Starke-Judith CarmelArthur-Carlton


The bauhaus and Modernism •

The Bauhaus was founded in 1919 in the city of Weimar by German architect Walter Gropius (1883–1969). Its core objective was a radical concept: to re imagine the material world to reflect the unity of all the arts. Gropius explained this vision for a union of art and design in the Proclamation of the Bauhaus (1919), which described a utopian craft guild combining architecture, sculpture, and painting into a single creative expression. Gropius developed a craft-based curriculum that would turn out artisans and designers capable of creating useful and beautiful objects appropriate to this new system of living. The Bauhaus combined elements of both fine arts and design education. The curriculum commenced with a preliminary course that immersed the students, who came from a diverse range of social and educational backgrounds, in the study of materials, color theory, and formal relationships in preparation for more specialized studies. This preliminary course was often taught by visual artists, including Paul Klee (1987.455.16), Wassily Kandinsky (1866–1944), and Josef Albers (59.160), among others.



The bauhaus Curriculum



Bauhaus design principles • Form follows function: an object’s appearance should be influenced mainly by what it is intended to do. In other words, a product’s appearance should not be the most important factor. Above all it should function well.

• Everyday objects for everyday people: products should be affordable to a wide range of consumers.

• Products for a machine age: Products should be

designed to be made with the use of mechanised processes and modern material.

• Geometrically pure forms: designs should use vertical, horizontal, geometric shapes and clean lines with no fuss or clutter. They should also use basic tones and primary colours



Bauhaus main influential designers •

Armchair, 1922

Marcel Breuer (American, born Hungary,

1902–1981) Oak, wool upholstery; 37 1/4 x 22 1/4 in. (94.5 x 56.5 cm) Designed while he was a student at the Bauhaus, this chair is Breuer's solution to the problem of creating beautiful, comfortable, functional seating with minimal materials and at minimal expense. The structure of the chair, with its un-upholstered wood frame and ergonomically angled back and seat rests, is designed to reduce spinal pressure, while at the same time paring all structural and decorative elements to an absolute minimum. Stylistically, the outward projection of portions of the frame suggests the influence of the Dutch movement De Stijl, especially Theo van Doesburg (1883–1931), who visited the Bauhaus several times in the early 1920s. Produced at the Bauhaus cabinet workshop continually from 1922 to 1925, Breuer's chair proved to be an early and successful example of the school's desire to ally art and industry and to create design prototypes for mass production.



Bauhaus main influential designers •

Tea infuser and strainer


ca. 1924

Marianne Brandt (German, 1893–1983)

Silver and ebony; H. 2 7/8 in. (7.3 cm) Under the direction of Walter Gropius, the Bauhaus sought a union of art and technology, with an emphasis on developing prototypes for industrial production. Brandt, the sole woman enrolled in the school's metal workshop, designed this silver teapot while still a student. By interrelating a number of pure geometric forms, including the hemisphere, circle, and cylinder, Brandt's design explores their formal relationship in space. Its very form and materials serve as the teapot's sole decorative elements, reflecting the Bauhaus emphasis on simplicity in design, without applied ornament. Like other functional Bauhaus items, the teapot was designed to work well in addition to looking good—it is well balanced and easy to pour. Like many of the metalwork designs of the Bauhaus, the teapot was conceived as a prototype for mass production, though this example is made of brass, silver, and ebony, expensive materials that would have precluded the broad audience hoped for by Bauhaus leaders.



Bauhaus main influential designers •

MR" armchair, 1927

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (American, born Germany, 1886–1969), Designer


Tubular steel, painted caning; 31 1/2 x 22 x 37 in. (80 x 55.9 x 94 cm) The architect and designer Ludwig Mies van der Rohe is one of the best-known exponents of International Style modernism. His "less-ismore" philosophy has become a catchphrase for much twentiethcentury design, though a preference for luxurious and costly materials often underscores the deceptive simplicity of his elegant and refined designs. Mies' early architectural career in Berlin included training in the office of Bruno Paul from 1905 to 1907 and in the office of Peter Behrens from 1908 to 1911 (where his co-workers included Le Corbusier and Walter Gropius). He opened his own practice in Berlin in 1913 and soon developed a personal architectural idiom that combined the cool rationalism of the nineteenth-century German architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel with the pure formalism of the International Style. From 1926 until 1932, Mies was vice-president of the Deutscher Werkbund, an association of designers and architects whose principal aim was the development of well-designed, mass-producible architecture and household objects by way of an alliance of art and industry. In 1927, the Werkbund presented the influential exhibition Die Wohnung (The Dwelling), which included the Weissenhofseidlung (Weissenhof Housing Estate), an experimental group of model apartment buildings built in a suburb of Stuttgart. Under Mies' direction, a number of important architects, including Mart Stam and Marcel Breuer, collaborated on the project, designing furniture for the apartments. This graceful, elegant, and beautifully proportioned "MR" chair, developed from a 1924 design for a cantilevered chair by Mart Stam, was introduced by Mies at the 1927 Stuttgart exhibition and has remained in production ever since. Mies was the last director of the Bauhaus design school in Dessau, from 1930 until its closing in 1932. In 1938, he left Germany for America, where he headed the architecture department at the Illinois 11 Institute of Technology in Chicago.

Bauhaus main influential designers •

Staatliches Bauhaus, W eim ar, 1919– 1923 , 1923

Walter Gropius (German, 1883–1969) et al.

Book-printed halftone, photographs, and lithograph; Herbert Bayer's cover for the 1923 book Staatliches Bauhaus, W eim ar, 1919–1923 is an example of Bauhaus experiments in typography, begun under the leadership of László Moholy-Nagy (1895–1946). Moholy-Nagy himself contributed an essay on the subject to this volume, titled "The New Typography." At the Bauhaus, typography was conceived as both an empirical means of communication and an artistic expression, with visual clarity stressed above all. Bayer's design, made while he was still a student, employs to dramatic visual effect blocklike sans serif lettering in bright red and blue against a black background. Bayer manipulated the spacing of the letters so that each of the four lines of text is the same length. Hence, the title appears as a unified block of text, rather than individual words. The Bauhaus typography, with its letters stripped of all ornamental elements, initially caused an uproar among critics but had a far-reaching impact on the development of graphic design in the twentieth century.



Bauhaus main influential designers KANDINSKY Sharing Gropius's vision of an international community of artists, Vasily Kandinsky and Paul Klee were among the school's first teachers. Joining the Bauhaus in 1922, Kandinsky first taught mural painting and, beginning in 1927, what would become his popular free-painting class. During his tenure from 1921 to 1931, Klee taught workshops in diverse subjects such as bookbinding, glass painting, and weaving in addition to painting. When the school was forced to relocate in 1925, Kandinsky and Klee also moved to Dessau, where they shared a double house from 1926 to 1931



past and present designers