Wednesday, January 5, 2011

film: The Genius of Design (part 4)

part 4: better living through chemistry
in 1947  Earl Silas Tupper founded Tupperware. Tupper had observation on everyday practice in mind when he invented the Tupperware. in 1938 his Tupperware Plastics Company was the first company to take in use the plastic polyeten in everyday objects.
plastic was a post-war material that influenced allot; kitchen ware, furniture's, other objects used in everyday life. after the war the economy started rising, people had more money and the consumer market grew. Tupperware is a object of design taken for granted, when it is actually revolutionary within plastic and the consumer market.

Dieter Rams was a designer that wanted to clean up after the war, and give the consumer everyday design. he got hired by Braun to design consumer electronics. record players, radios, etc got simple form of rectangular with circular buttons. he wanted form to follow function and stripped back all decor and showed a clear, honest way of thinking of design. there was perfection and purity in his design, where he had to remove all decor and unnecessarily things for the design to be optimal. the product should be exactly what it should be.

                     Dieter Rams for Braun: System Combination, 1958.

the world was rising again after the W.W. 2 and in 1956 they started construction of the first motorway. to know where you are driving you need signage. from 1958 graphic designers  started designing road signage. they were functional, minimalistic and had a clarity and simplicity about them so that the driver could read the sign quickly and clearly. typographer and graphic designer Margaret Calvert designed all the road signage in Britain with the special designed font "transport".  the signage´s was a sign of changing time.

good design is fit for purpose and everyday use. 

                    in 1963 Robin Day designed this stack able, light 
                    but strong, washable, comfortable, indistructable, 
                    everyday use and low cost (1/4 of the price of 
                    traditional products) plastic chair.   

the post-war time was a optimistic spirit of time. a new world had began were people was more happy and relaxed. the material plastic became liberation to designers and consumers. with plastic the designer could shape objects easy and design whatever they wanted. plastic was rock&roll!

the Italian manufacture Alessi, founded by Alberto Alessi in 1945, hired avant garde designers and architects to design artistic everyday objects.

designer Joe Colombo  was a 60´s favor. he loved the notion of change and was very experimental in his design when he designed environments for the future. an good example of his design is his Cadillac bed that was very private with built in radio, phone and cigarette lighter.

with the plastic came the inflatable chair. a fashionable and disposable chair designed for the teen-age consumer. it was a time to relax and comfortable lounge furniture´s became popular with the young generation. plastic became a new lifestyle.

another very famous designer in the 60´s was the danish designer Verner Panton. he had trained with Arne Jacobsen and his Scandinavian style. Panton revolutionized the world with his legless chair that was injection molded in one piece of plastic. the well-known S chair or Panton chair. it was designed in 1959 but did not make the market before 1967 when the manufacturer Vitra wanted to mass produce his chair. but it was not before in the 90´s production and when molded with the plastic polypropylene that it became indestructible.
Panton was a designer liberated by the time, he had forgot all about traditions and created total design meaning wall to wall, floor to ceiling, an environment that captured the design. these soft environments were very psychedelic, like you were on drugs when you spent time in the designed room. his environments reflected the effect of taking the popular 60´s drug LSD.

the designers wanted to make objects smaller, movable plastic electronics that were to be durable with modern technologies. in 1947 the Americans invented the transistor that is used in the radio. when the objects became smaller they also became movable and portable, something that gave libertaion and freedom to the example the Sony Walkman that was a new experience for the consumer, a separate reality for the user. even the homes became portable like the 60´s Futuro home made in polyester in 1968. it was a Utopian fantasy, Tupperware you could live in. it looked like a spaceship and it was probably were the idea of the home came from: the Space Age living. but the home must be hooked up to water pipes, so it was´nt that durable after all.

with the new technology and cheap mass production of everyday objects the consumer could do what ever they wanted. a throw-away culture was rising. and they saw that the material of the future; plastic, was not that easy to get rid of. and they saw that plastic did not look good over time, it got brittle and cracked. the designers thought they had solved a problem by designing everything in plastic, but they were actually doing the opposite; creating a problem. early 70´s optimism of the future faded away.

                       an example of a throw-away furniture is the
                       Monobloc chair designed in 1967. it is
                       injection molded in one plastic piece, cheap
                       (£ 2 to produce!), 40-60 sec to produce,
                       perform well, stack able, functional, but
                       people get bored of it and throws it away.

today we don´t look at plastic as an object of optimism. it is used for everything and looked upon as cheap. and the scary thing is that plastic is what will be left of this world. but for the designer plastic is still fantastic! you can still do anything with it were new possibilities awakes all the time. and plastic is actually based on intelligence and purely made from humans.

examples of futuristic designers of the late 20th century, and today as well, are Philippe Starck and Mark Newson. Starck is seen upon as a superstar designer. he is a pleasure seeking designer. it is to be both futuristic, smart and innovative. like his lemon squeeze; Juicy Salif:

Mark Newson are seen as the most hippest  designer of the planet, were his Lockheed lounge from 1986 is the most desirable furniture of the world.  he designed the chair in his backyard when he was only 23-24 years old.

mass production was the ultimate goal of a designer. but it introduced  a curious dilemma; how can a mass product have personality? the designers wanted to solve this problem. and many designers saw  a design product as a luxury item.

Michael Graves are seen as the most successful industrial designer, where he got Alessi as manufacture. his Kettle from 1985 are seen as the first mass produced product with personality. it is a design classic where form follows function. it has a sense of charisma were the consumer desire to own it.

during the rescission a new retail experience named IKEA was founded by the Swedish guy Ingvar Kamprad Elmtaryd Agunnaryd in 1943, he was only 17 years old, selling everyday small objects from his home, the farm Elmtaryd that was situated in Aguannaryd in Sweden. in 1955 the company started designing their own furniture´s, and is to day the most successful manufacturer of all time.

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