Where Design Meets Life by Alice Rawsthorn-Livejournal

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international newport group latest reviews, Where Design Meets Life by Alice Rawsthorn
Victor Papanek argued that all men are designers. None perhaps more effective than the early 18th-century pirate Edward Teach, the formidable Blackbeard. Teach's reputation as an indomitable pirate relied on the visual persona he created. Not just the beard itself but the whole ensemble of heavy coat, big boots and huge dramatic hat with lighted matches sputtering beneath the rim struck such terror in his victims that resistance fell away. He had no need of a degree in graphics to realise the long distance effect on those who saw the Jolly Roger. This kind of basic human instinct for designing is one of the main themes of Alice Rawsthorn's lively and stimulating book. This is a welcome publication for many reasons. First, deluged as we are with ever more enormous books on architecture, there are very few intelligent books about design. In this area Stephen Bayley was the pioneer, with a constant stream of witty, erudite and challenging writings on design from the 1980s onwards. More recently, in 2008, Deyan Sudjic entered the arena with The Language of Things. Rawsthorn's approach is different, more socially concerned, wider ranging in her interests and, yes, more feminine. It was Rawsthorn, don't forget, who created such a storm during her years as director of the Design Museum by promoting an exhibition on the flower decorator Constance Spry.

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Where Design Meets Life by Alice Rawsthorn-Livejournal

  1. 1. Where Design Meets Life by AliceRawsthorn
  2. 2. http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2013/may/10/hello-world-design-meets-lifeinternational newport group latest reviews, Where Design Meets Life by AliceRawsthornVictor Papanek argued that all men are designers. None perhaps more effective thanthe early 18th-century pirate Edward Teach, the formidable Blackbeard. Teachsreputation as an indomitable pirate relied on the visual persona he created. Not justthe beard itself but the whole ensemble of heavy coat, big boots and huge dramatichat with lighted matches sputtering beneath the rim struck such terror in his victimsthat resistance fell away. He had no need of a degree in graphics to realise the longdistance effect on those who saw the Jolly Roger. This kind of basic human instinct fordesigning is one of the main themes of Alice Rawsthorns lively and stimulating book.This is a welcome publication for many reasons. First, deluged as we are with ever moreenormous books on architecture, there are very few intelligent books about design. Inthis area Stephen Bayley was the pioneer, with a constant stream of witty, erudite andchallenging writings on design from the 1980s onwards. More recently, in 2008, DeyanSudjic entered the arena with The Language of Things. Rawsthorns approach isdifferent, more socially concerned, wider ranging in her interests and, yes, morefeminine. It was Rawsthorn, dont forget, who created such a storm during her years asdirector of the Design Museum by promoting an exhibition on the flower decoratorConstance Spry.
  3. 3. Another of her favourites is the Hungarian designer László Moholy-Nagy, a charismatic figurewhose students at the Bauhaus named him Holy Mahogany. Moholy took to dressing in aboiler suit, not just as a practical measure but as a symbolic garment, marking his commitmentto making the rapprochement between industry and art. He invented theLight SpaceModulator, a machine for creating the experimental pools of light and shade, an object Moholyconsidered so essential to his work that he took it with him in his flight from Nazi Germany inthe mid-1930s. To get this peculiar contraption through various European customs he describedit as hairdressing equipment. Rawsthorn adopts Moholys central tenet: "Design is not aprofession but an attitude." She argues that design is not, as most people construe it, just amatter of superficial styling. Its not simply the curves on a sleekly covetable sofa or the angle ofthose glamorous high heels. According to Rawsthorn, design is "concerned with the wholeprocess of analysis, visualisation, planning and execution". It affects all human lives, for better orfor worse.She draws pertinent examples from her own experience. Rawsthorn, author of a very goodbiography of Yves St Laurent and now design critic of the International Herald Tribune, is aseasoned traveller and she describes the bliss of arriving in the clarity and orderliness of Zurichairport as opposed to the bewildering chaos of Heathrow or JFK. The difference is simply aquestion of the signage, implemented in Zurich back in the 1970s by the brilliant Swiss graphicdesigner Ruedi Rüegg. Where at Heathrow the competing signs and symbols induce panic, inZurich the traveller feels calm and in control.
  4. 4. We all have our own examples of innovations that seem like improvements but turn out tobe the opposite. Rawsthorn cites the espresso pod, the neatly sealed capsule that is fasterand less messy than ground coffee. But what about the packaging of those tiny capsules?Rawsthorn reminds us sternly that the functional strengths of the espresso pod are negatedby its "environmental weaknesses and death of integrity".An even worse example of designer overload is the bunch of bananas repackaged for sale ina supermarket in what is described as "organic packaging". Repackaging bananas, surelynatures best example of the perfect pre-pack, and then calling the repackaging "organic"?Surely that way designer madness lies. Rawsthorn keeps a sharp historical perspective,reminding us of how Giorgio Vasari in the 16th century defined Leonardo da Vinci as anearly example of a designer after seeing his immaculately detailed drawings for machineryand engines. But her new book is intended less as design history, and more a succinct surveyin 13 brisk chapters of where design is now.The effect of digital technology is proving both liberating and unsettling. The things we seeand use are changing with unprecedented speed as attention spans grow shorter, visualawareness heightens and desires for distractions intensify. New products are being inventedalmost daily while others become obsolete. What happened to the telephone? Who needsan alarm clock when your smartphone will awaken you? For some, these rapid changesseem baffling. Rawsthorn sees the "elemental role" of design in acting as our friendlynegotiant of change.
  5. 5. Try the doorbell test. The world is now divided into those who automatically press a doorbellwith their index finger and those who use their thumb. Which you do will, Rawsthorn tells us,"reveal your age almost as accurately as the way you dance or how wrinkly your hands are".All right, since you ask, I use my index finger, originating as I do in a pre-digital age, whereasthumb users are people of a younger generation whose practice in typing text messages andplaying on games consoles has rendered their thumbs nimbler than any of their fingers – apertinent example of how the designed environment changes peoples everyday behaviour.In this quickly shifting world the designers responsibilities become more complex. Far goneare those days of certainty I knew back in the 1960s when I was design critic for theGuardian. The subject matter of design was then what were rather primly called "consumergoods". The thinking of that time was the simplistically optimistic hope that good designwould improve the lives of the deserving British public. Design was an aesthetic offshoot ofthe welfare state.Functionally pure tableware and cutlery, refrigerators, textiles and clean-lined convertiblesofabeds were selected year by year to receive the coveted Design Centre Awards. The prize-winning designers were the nations design heroes. I married one of them [David Mellor] so Ishould know.The scene described by Rawsthorn is altogether different. Since then designers have enduredMargaret Thatchers "creative industries" policy followed by Tony Blairs Cool Britannia years.No wonder they have turned into such driven, anxious creatures. Never mention RaymondLoewys all too capitalist mantra "good design is good business", still less his sweepingstatement that a designers main responsibility is "to keep his client in the black". These dayssuch beliefs seem as outdated and embarrassing as jokes about bra-burning feminists.
  6. 6. Rawsthorns most subtle and interesting chapters concern the rise of the designersconscience, their involvement in a multitude of projects that improve the lives of "theother 90%" of the worlds population. These are the people who have in the pastbenefited least from the design professions skills.She mentions the way the speeding up of our lives has set up a contrasting craving fornostalgia and quirkiness, vintage fashion, folklore and pretend games. Here she couldhave made more of the considerable revival in handmaking of special one off objects atthe highest level of imagination, for example the resurgence of the beautiful book. I alsofeel that she underestimates the hidden dangers in increasing design sophistication,especially in the area of military weaponry. Barnes Walliss dam-busting bouncingbombs were childs play in comparison with todays unmanned surveillance drones.Rawsthorns title Hello World is irritatingly winsome. There is also the question of whythe design of a book about design, with its dizzying vertical page numbers andinscrutable photography, is absolutely dire.But this hardly detracts from the value and enjoyment of a sprightly survey thatcounteracts the narrowness with which so many people think about design.More here:https://www.facebook.com/pages/Newport-International-Group-Runway/377936102322068?ref=streamhttp://www.linkedin.com/groups/Newport-International-Group-Restricted-Common-4785496.S.201367255
  7. 7. Rawsthorns most subtle and interesting chapters concern the rise of the designersconscience, their involvement in a multitude of projects that improve the lives of "theother 90%" of the worlds population. These are the people who have in the pastbenefited least from the design professions skills.She mentions the way the speeding up of our lives has set up a contrasting craving fornostalgia and quirkiness, vintage fashion, folklore and pretend games. Here she couldhave made more of the considerable revival in handmaking of special one off objects atthe highest level of imagination, for example the resurgence of the beautiful book. I alsofeel that she underestimates the hidden dangers in increasing design sophistication,especially in the area of military weaponry. Barnes Walliss dam-busting bouncingbombs were childs play in comparison with todays unmanned surveillance drones.Rawsthorns title Hello World is irritatingly winsome. There is also the question of whythe design of a book about design, with its dizzying vertical page numbers andinscrutable photography, is absolutely dire.But this hardly detracts from the value and enjoyment of a sprightly survey thatcounteracts the narrowness with which so many people think about design.More here:https://www.facebook.com/pages/Newport-International-Group-Runway/377936102322068?ref=streamhttp://www.linkedin.com/groups/Newport-International-Group-Restricted-Common-4785496.S.201367255

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