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In the decade which followed the Second World War, industrial society became characterized increasingly by the role that the mass media played in determining the nature of its institutions, its organizations, its consumption patterns and the life-styles of its populations…
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Download file to see previous pages Inevitably, within this changing cultural climate, design took on new guises and performed new roles.
During the early postwar period, which was one of economic, social and cultural reconstruction in the industrialized world, design played a crucial, although usually silent, role. It became an important factor within two areas of postwar life; the first as part of the need to create a national identity for products on the international market and the second in the formation of mass culture - both of them highly significant aspects of the world history of the post-1945 period (Bonsiepe, 1965).
Within this economic rebirth the manufacture and trade of goods played a major role. The reasons for this resurgence were complex but the strongest stimulus, in addition to the numerous social and economic changes that occurred in these years, was the rapid development of technology. Many advances had been made during the Second World War, including the development of radar and work in aircraft production which, in Britain, was sustained into the 1950s. Perhaps the most significant development of the late 1940s, however, was that of the transistor which made possible the miniaturization of electronic equipment, including computers, which in turn were to play such a central role in the postwar period, both in the automation of production and in information retrieval (Stearn, 1968).
As a result of the numerous social, economic and technological changes that...
The lesson presented by the prewar USA example that 'design sells' was learnt and digested and became one of the major strategies in most countries' programmes of industrial reconstruction and within international trading in the postwar period (Rogers, 1946).
Design in postwar Italy was quick to develop into a highly sophisticated marketing exercise. Because its products were aimed from the beginning at a small, wealthy, international market, Italy was able to focus on quality and aesthetic innovation as the two defining characteristics of its consumer goods. This inevitably placed a strong emphasis on the role of the designers, giving them the sole responsibility of finding the right visual formula for the product. For the most part, disillusioned with prewar Rationalism because of its associations with fascism, they took their cue from contemporary fine art incorporating into many of their designs sensuous curves directly inspired by the abstract, organic sculpture of artists like Henry Moore, Hans Arp, Alexander Calder and Max Bill (qq.v.). The Turinese furniture designer, Carlo Mollino (q.v.), took this expressive aesthetic to an extreme in what he called his 'streamline surreal' tables and chairs. As a result of this pioneering work Italy, in particular Milan, soon became a centre for debate and discussion about progressive attitudes towards design, and the postwar Triennales, three-yearly exhibitions of design which had been initiated in the 1920s (Huisman and Patrix, 1968).
Mollino was the most idiosyncratic of the Italian postwar furniture designers. Based in Turin rather than Milan where most furniture designing went on, he developed a personal style ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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