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DESIGN    Ladies and gentlemen, may we present the             Loewy used to say that the most beautiful       ing a livin...
Nothing underscores the technological revo-lution better than plastics, long viewed as cheapand ugly. Not since the early-...
Articulo revista Time "The rebirth of design"
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Articulo revista Time "The rebirth of design"


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Artículo de portada de Marzo de 2000. Es la segunda vez que el diseño aparece como tema de portada en la revista desde 1949....buena lectura para entender el crecimiento de la profesión.

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Articulo revista Time "The rebirth of design"

  1. 1. DESIGN Ladies and gentlemen, may we present the Loewy used to say that the most beautiful ing a living from making the beautiful things indesign economy. It is the crossroads where pros- curve was a rising sales graph, and that notion your life. There are big corporate players, likeperity and technology meet culture and market- has driven design since he was in shorts. Good Sony and Ford and Philips, the European elec-ing. These days efficient manufacturing and in- design married commerce during the Great De- tronics consortium. There are architects and de-tense competition have made “commodity chic” pression, and Loewy’s career took off then be- signers-iconoclasts like Philippe Starck andnot just affordable but also mandatory. Ameri- cause he made products irresistible at a time young upstarts like Jasper Morrison or Marccans are likely to appreciate style when they see when nobody really wanted to pay for anything. New-son. Or businessmen like Davidit and demand it when they don’t, whether in In the ’50s, Charles and Ray Eames led a cohort Neeleman, whose no-frills but chic airline,boutique hotels or kitchen scrub brushes. “De- of Californians who used postwar manufactur- JetBlue, began flying last month. And of coursesign is being democratized,” says Karim Rashid, ing capacity to create sleek, efficient domestic there’s Martha Stewart, who has parlayed herdesigner of the Oh chair by Umbra and winner environs. In the ’60s, however, industrial design sense of style into a multidimensional billion-of a 1999 George Nelson award for break- dollar role as America’s spokesperson forthrough furniture design. “Our entire physi- taste. Martha’s line of home furnishingscal landscape has improved, and that helped wipe the red ink off the bottom linemakes people more critical as an audi- of the discount department chain K Mart.ence.” And more willing. Says Mark If anyone believes in America’s newDziersk, president of the Industrial Design- appetite for design it is Terence Conran,ers Society of America: “This is the new Britain’s style impresario. Twenty yearsGolden Age of design.” ago, Conran launched a Stateside chain of Make that platinum, because design has catchy furniture stores in his name, but hebecome big Big Business. Nobody is quite jumped ship early in the ’90s. Now he’ssure how big, but just consider that Ameri- back, determined to catch the new wave.cans spent some $6 trillion on goods and In December he opened a 22, last year, and roughly one-fifth of store in Manhattan. Like its counterpartsit went into buying stuff for their homes. in London, Paris and Tokyo, the TerenceThe stunning success of the colorful (read: Con-ran Shop is a design bazaar, with ev-No more beige!) iMac, for instance, not erything from $17 digital watches toonly helped save Apple but has also in- $3,550 violet-colored lounges. “I neverspired a raft of whimsically styled, low-cost quite understood why design didn’t takepersonal computers from firms like Dell, off in America before,” says Conran, whoGateway and Compaq. The New Beetle is cautiously optimistic this time around.rescued Volkswagen’s image two years ago “There really is a wind of change here now.and became a catalyst for change in the auto America is about technology, being proudbusiness. Carmakers are finally putting a of achieving so much and confident aboutpremium on how their products look be- having a culture that reflects that.”cause they know that otherwise we won’t Americans’ appetite for design is flour-buy them anymore. ishing at least partly because America is. The So it is with makers of just about everything. BANAL AND BEAUTIFUL A flat folding housing-construction boom has reached historic ironing board of zinc and steel: $385“When industries are competing at equal price proportions, and people need to fill those newand functionality, design is the only differential homes with stuff that defines who they are. Itthat matters,” says Dziersk, echoing the credo used to confer status to have an expensive de-first spouted in the ’30s by Raymond Loewy, seemed to lose its way and end up in the mire of signer couch; now it’s important to have some-father of industrial design. Loewy was the man an American consumer sensibility that simply tiling that’s personal, whether it’s from the fleawho gave America the Lucky Strike pack and wanted more products for less money, from market or B&B Italia. Like the Mosquito Table,the sleek Greyhound bus, and when he added a which it began to emerge only in the ’90s. which looks like an aircraft wing. Or the Conradflourish to the Coldspot refrigerator, to make it Now, instead of one Raymond Loewy, the de- (not Conran) chair, made from something calledlook just a little more streamlined than its 1934 sign world is humming with an eclectic mix of Bora Bora bark. “In this boom economy, peoplecompetitors, Sears’ sales skyrocketed. impresarios and entrepreneurs intent on earn- have a craving to express their individuality,” TIME, MARCH 20, 2000
  2. 2. Nothing underscores the technological revo-lution better than plastics, long viewed as cheapand ugly. Not since the early-20th century popu-larity of Bakelite has plastic been so loved.Polypropylene, for instance, the plastic that hasbeen around since the ’50s, can be molded sosmooth it is almost sensuous, and it takes dyeslike silk. German design firms Authentics andKoziol have made much hay out of plastic’s newpizazz. Koziol’s spaghetti forks with a smileyface, ice-cream scoops with eyes and the “Tim”dish brush with legs are some of more than 300“cutensils,” as they’re known, that flew offshelves of American stores last year. “I had no doubt these would sell in Chicago,New York and Boston,” says Elliott Zivin, presi-dent of Koziol’s U.S. distributor, Majestic. “Butthey’re selling like crazy in Bogalusa, La., and westTexas.” So much so that Zivin is bringing in 100more plastic “blobjects”—another nickname—thisyear. Shopping for household items is no longerdutiful; it’s part of a person’s articulation of his orher personal style. Everything is an accessory. Itcould be coincidence that manufacturers started tothink more about making household products funnot long after men started shouldering some of theburden around the home. It could be. Corporate demand for these new design strat-egies is surging. Fitch’s Bill Faust says his de-sign shop got so many big corporate clients thathe went back to school to pick up an M.B.A.“Designers are being invited to the table moreand given a voice in making business decisions,”says Faust. “I wanted to give the executives moreof a reason to consider a design than “We thinkthis is cool.’” Well, cool could be enough. GeneralMills is re-examining cereal boxes, Kodak hasditched the black-box camera, Swingline hasstreamlined its standard stapler. Any companywithout in-house talent is reaching for a hot de- swirls. The same philosophy applies to dozens of ality has become more dimensional,” says Susansign consultant. “Manufacturers recognize that products we used to regard as banal—garbage Yelavich, assistant director of the Cooper-Hewittconsumers are looking for more than functional cans, toilet brushes and cheese graters. They’re National Design Museum, which last week openedbenefits,” says Barry Shepard, co-founder of SHR cute, they’re cheap and they’re disposable. its first National Design Triennial. “Function nowPerceptual Management, the design consultancy Cheap is O.K. by Starck, whose cheerful embraces psychology and emotion.” Or, as Karimthat helped conceive the Volkswagen Beetle. “A whimsy with juicers, bottle openers and hotel Rashicl puts it, “The more time we spend in frontproduct that matters needs to say something about rooms did much to spark America’s current fling of computer screens, the more the look of our cof-the person who owns it.” with design. He says he wants good design to be a fee cup takes on added importance.” And it doesn’t have to say it for long. Buying commodity—but without being wasteful. He points The question now is whether the designa cool toothbrush is a way of ex-pressing your out that every time he designs a chair, it’s less ex- economy can be sustained or whether, whenpersonality without making a huge commitment pensive than the one he designed before. “I want America’s wave of prosperity recedes, we’ll allother than to dental hygiene. Your sense of style every body to have the best products for the price edge back to plain-vanilla functionality. If he werechanges, you buy a new toothbrush. Starck was of any bulls in the grocery store,” he says. around, Raymond Ix)ewy would remind us that heone of the first to sense this with his translucent Inevitably, not all the design efforts out there got his start during the Great Depression, so per-Brancusi-esque dollop of a toothbrush for reflect the sensibility of an artist, and even many haps the real design revolution is still to come. IfFluocaril in 1989. Now pharmaceutical compa- that do are downright, well, dysfunctional, like the so, Constant Nieuwenhuys is looking more pro-nies have released a plethora of toothbrushes— Lexon radio on the cover of this magazine, which phetic than ever. — With reporting by Julie Rawe/ridged, twisted, tapered, with bands, dots and despite appearances is not waterproof. “Function- New York and Sheila Gribben/Chlcago TIME, MARCH 20, 2000