Posts tagged “modernism”

This Year We Make Contact With 2001 in 1968

Last night we watched the documentary Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures. I was struck by this image, presumably from one of the premieres of 2001.

The visual elements of the movie (including production design, posters, typography, sets, models, special effects) were intended to depict, in 1968, the future. In this picture, there’s a remarkable contrast between the poster for the film, and everything else around it. The surrounding elements tell a story of the 60s – the cars, the signage, everything. And it might as well as be the 50s, or even the 40s. But the poster for the movie itself pops right out. The typography, the layout in the space, still look contemporary if not futuristic.

Looking back more than 40 years later, we can see the discontinuity between the world of what-was-then-today and the design-as-illustration-of-the future. One has to wonder how it felt in 1968. Was it even more dramatic (with the future stuff seeming really really future-y) or was it less dramatic (with the current stuff not seeing so ridiculously dated as it does now)?

Full Nelson

A fun read at Metropolis on the ‘good old days’ at Nelson & Company.

Irving Harper tells a story about developing his iconic Marshmallow sofa:

How did the Marshmallow sofa come about? One weekend, I thought about doing an upholstery unit, and wondered, Is there any way to do a sofa out of reproducible parts that could be done as if fitted out to a frame? I cooked up this model out of a checkers set, and I stuck the checkers disks on a metal frame, and it looked good to me. So I drew it up, brought it in, and that was the birth of it.

Harper’s story is testimony to the power of mocking up an idea. So when you or your team are in an idea-generating mode, go for it. Make ideas visible. Try things out. You never know where the exploration might lead…

Prototyping a body-mounted interface device using coat hanger, rubber bands, and Logitech mouse

The cradle will rock

I’m quoted in today’s Boston Globe

Like a lot of design-conscious urbanites with modern tastes, Alberta Chu and Murray Robinson have put a lot of creative energy into decorating their home, a fashionable loft in the South End with 20-foot ceilings, spare white walls, and a spectacular wall of windows.

It’s furnished with vintage chairs by Harry Bertoia. An Italian sofa by Massimo Morozzi. A giant minimalist print by Richard Serra. Even their dish rack has a big-name designer: Marc Newson, the Australian superstar.

So when their daughter Kaia was born two years ago, the thought of disrupting their carefully considered contemporary landscape with fussy, frilly baby furniture wasn’t exactly appealing.

Not all designers, however, agree this trend toward upscale, adult-centric children’s furniture is a good idea. “There is this idea out there that we have to protect our children from the chaos of an ugly world. Well, we’d better not let them go out of the house . . . because that garish aesthetic influence they are trying to insulate them from is ubiquitous,” said Steve Portigal, founder of Portigal Consulting, a California firm specializing in research, design, and business strategy.


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