‘Women In Design’ – the alternative design history

Women have made an immense contribution to design history. And it isn’t a huge surprise that historically it hasn’t always been an easy ride for female creatives battling in a male-dominated world. This is, of course, true of most professional fields, be it the arts or science. Many icons of design, typically attributed to leading male figures at the time, were, in fact, the work of women. Margaret Calvert ‘children crossing’... Read More

Best new books on architecture and design for 2018

Once-upon-a-time design theory was considered art history’s inferior sibling – a bit of a side-subject. When in 1989 Terence Conran and Stephen Bayley opened the doors to the cubic white Design Museum at Shad Thames, it was such a revelation. Finally, the applied arts were given a platform to talk. Some years later I recall my excitement at discovering a university course in Design History that promised to dissect and analyse the subject... Read More

New books: The Current by Gestalten

Against the noise and pollution of modern industrial cities, a group of creatives, inventors, idealists are pioneering a new age of mobility. ‘The Current‘ by Gestalten takes a closer look at the conceptual studies and production cars, motorbikes, scooters, bicycles and progressive movements leading the way. It is a lively episode in transport design. Take a closer look Design Talks | The Textile Building | 29a Chatham Place | London | E9... Read More

Modernist Design Complete, a book review

Modernism impacts on every aspect of our lives. This progressive aesthetic and philosophical movement, which emerged in the late 19th and early 20th century in the midst of modern industrial societies and rapid urbanisation, and the horrors of the world wars, continues to shape our lives. Modernism has set a powerful framework for how we think and create, how are homes are built and interiors decorated, and the way our cities are imagined. Modernism,... Read More

Radical Essex: A complex county of raw beauty and modernism

‘Essex is neither part of East Anglia, nor one of the Home Counties; it contains both radical and conservative elements, and is therefore open to all possibilities,’ writes architectural critic Ken Worpole in Radical Essex. Sitting on the edge of east London, a rural refuge for much of the cockney diaspora, it certainly gets its fair share of crude stereotyping, and mockery – think The Only Way is Essex, spray tans and excessive... Read More

Designed in the USSR: 1950-1989

Soviet design at its peak between 1950 to 1989 was dynamic, different and complex. On the one side were consumer and domestic products for daily use. Then there was a rather more controlled side to design directed by the state which impacted on advertising, film posters and educational literature. The Soviet Union’s isolation helped create a bit of a design bubble, yet there was a certain image of the USSR created largely for the international... Read More

Richard Rogers reflects on his life in architecture

‘A Place for All People’ begins in July of 1971. Narrated by Richard Rogers, it is a passionate tale of a young British architect and his friend and colleague Renzo Piano, and their sheer surprise at winning the Centre Pompidou  competition with their brilliantly left-field entry which had at its heart Rogers’ philosophy of adaptability, affordability and colour. It lit up and brought cultural life to an otherwise run-down Paris neighbourhood.... Read More

Futura: The Typeface placed type in the context of design history

The Nazis hated Futura. They deemed the typeface as too radical – subversive even. Members of Bauhaus embraced it for its radicalism, and it came to be associated with the movement from 1919 through to 1933, when the school was forced to close and its members dispersed around the world. Futura: the Typeface examines the fascinating story of this popular type. Published this month by Laurence King, the book taps into a new movement in exploring... Read More

La Vita Campari tells the story of Campari

Davide Campari was a fascinating character. In the early years of the 20th century the company heir set out to explore the potentials of art and ideas in creating a strong, global brand. Eschewing conventions, he joined Milan’s artistic circles, becoming intimately linked with the avant-garde who helped create product design such as the brilliant Campari Soda bottle, daring poster art and advertising – design that were hugely radical... Read More

Exploring the dark, cute and magical world of Yuko Higuchi

‘Magical Colouring Museum’ is a beautifully-illustrated picture book of sorts – cute, dark, surreal, funny, frightening at times. ‘Cats and Other Creatures’ features 24 stand-alone illustrations. Published by Laurence King, together they explore the imaginative world of the celebrated, cult Tokyo artist Yuko Higuchi. Higuchi is the voice behind the kawaii trend, sketching whimsical illustrations of anthropomorphised characters that... Read More

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