The Authority of Everyday Objects
A Cultural History of West German Industrial Design
Publication Year: 2004
Published by: University of California Press
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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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List of Illustrations
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It is a great pleasure to express my appreciation to those who have con-tributed to the making of this book. First, I would like to thank thoseinstitutions and foundations that generously supported my study. TheFriedrich-Ebert-Stiftung furnished me with a pre-dissertation grant in1991 to conduct preliminary research in Berlin. A dissertation research...
Introduction. Design, the Cold War, and West German Culture
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Even the humblest material artefact, which is the product and symbol of a particular civilization, is an emissary of the culture out of which it comes.Philip Rosenthal, the longtime director of the world-renowned design firmRosenthal AG and then-president of the German Design Council, offeredthe following comment in a 1978 interview about the cultural importance...
1. Re-Enchanting the Commodity: Nazi Modernism Reconsidered
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One of the most curious things about contemporary academic culture isthe amount of recent attention devoted to what is now known as “fas-cist modernism.” These days there seems no end to the intense interna-tional preoccupation with a subject that only a generation ago was rou-tinely regarded as reckless and even repugnant, more recycled Third...
2. The Conscience of the Nation: The New German Werkbund
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Among those interested in the history of German modernism, the Ger-man Werkbund continues to attract wide attention. Even the wartimedestruction of most of the original Werkbund archive has not deterredscholarly interest in the lasting importance of this colorful organization.1As discussed in the last chapter, the Werkbund occupies a prominent place...
3. The Nierentisch Nemesis: The Promise and Peril of Organic Design
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However important the revival of “good form” design was for the post-war generation, it was hardly West Germany’s only design culture in the1950s. The decade also witnessed the explosion of a new “organic de-sign” in West German domestic furnishings. This design wave generallywent by the term “Nierentisch culture,” after its main icon, a small three-...
4. Design and Its Discontents: The Ulm Institute of Design
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In the larger narrative of twentieth-century German design, the Ulm In-stitute of Design (Hochschule für Gestaltung) continues to enjoy a pow-erful status. Given both its ambitious design program and its star-stud-ded roster of instructors, which included not only the principal cast ofInge Scholl, Otl Aicher, Max Bill, and Tomás Maldonado, but also high-...
5. Design, Liberalism, and the State: The German Design Council
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On April 4, 1951, the Rat für Formgebung, or German Design Council,was established by West Germany’s Bundestag as a new governmentagency charged with promoting “the best possible form of German prod-ucts.” The creation of this national design council capped a hard-foughtcampaign by the German Werkbund to enlist government assistance in...
6. Coming in from the Cold: Design and Domesticity
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Despite the difficulties described in the preceding chapter, over the courseof the 1950s the German Design Council’s moral design crusade managedto attract a wide range of adherents outside the more established “goodform” design world. These people too worried about the dangerous ef-fects of rampant consumerism, but their strategy to preserve the moral sub-...
Conclusion. Memory and Materialism: The Return of History as Design
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In a 1984 interview Tomás Maldonado offered the following reflectionsOne must admit, however, that the propensity to assume the role andabove all the rhetoric of the preacher was present in many of us. In short,the propensity to pontificate more than was necessary. Perhaps it was aresult of the fact that we believed vehemently in the ideas we supported. ...
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Further Reading, Production Notes
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Page Count: 361
Publication Year: 2004
Series Title: Weimar and Now: German Cultural Criticism