Design and industrialisation have been building up an impressive
history for over a century. While the relationship may initially have been difficult
– the 19th century saw the transition from manual labour to industrialisation
and characters such as William Morris explicitly continued to champion traditional
production – the 20th century demonstrated that machine production
does not necessarily have to lead to inferior objects. Moreover, new ideas increasingly
determined the design philosophy. Form was matched to function and decoration
largely lost ground. By promoting a type of design that responded to the context
of the machine, the quality of industrial production was improved. The slogan
‘art and technology, a new entity’ was indicative of the new Bauhaus trend in
1923. Individualised production made room for industrial standardisation. In
subsequent decades, industrial functionalism increasingly became the paradigm
for good design. Functional products with a clear and rational design completely
organised everyday life, not only for the elite but also for the general public.
The 1960s were years of triumph for functional design and for faith in technology
and progress. Design and production processes became highly technological and
specialised and clearly intended for mass production.
However, this does not mean that the paths of the industrial and
the non-industrial have to diverge completely. Scandinavian design demonstrates
that it is possible to build up a rich history of industrial design based on
traditional crafts. However, industrial designers have also written history
with designs in which they play in a surprising way with concept, humour, memory,
decoration, etc. and build up a more mental relationship with the user. This
produced icons such as the Joe Sofa (1968) by Gionatan De Pas, Donato
D’Urbino and Paolo Lomazzi.
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|Humberto & Fernando Campana, Favela, 2003.
|Marcel Wanders, Knotted chair, 1996. © Marcel Wanders Studio|
|Richard Hutten, Thing 10, 2000. © Boris Braakhuis|
|Hella Jongerius, Repeat, 2002.|
|Ingo Maurer, Bulb, 1966. © Tom Vack|