VICTOR PAPANEK “Design for the real world” (1984) 

One of the most important books on social design. Here fragments from the introduction.

“ There are professions more harmful than industrial design, but only a very few of them. And possibly only one profession is phonier. Advertising design, in persuading people to buy things they don’t need, with money they don’t have, in order to impress others who don’t care, is probably the phoniest field in existence today. Industrial design, by concocting the tawdry idiocies hawked by advertisers, comes a close second. Never before in history have grown men sat down and seriously designed electric hairbrushes, rhinestone-covered file boxes, and mink carpeting for bathrooms, and then drawn up elaborate plans to make and sell these gadgets to millions of people. Before (in the ‘good old days’), if a person liked killing people, he had to become a general, purchase a coal-mine, or else study nuclear physics. Today, industrial design has put murder on a mass-production basis. By designing criminally unsafe automobiles that kill or maim nearly one million people around the world each year, by creating whole new species of permanent garbage to clutter up the landscape, and by choosing materials and processes that pollute the air we breathe, designers have become a dangerous breed. And the skills needed in these activities are taught carefully to young people. “

“ Design must become an innovative, highly creative, cross- disciplinary tool responsive to the true needs of men. It must be more researchoriented, and we must stop defiling the earth itself with poorly-designed objects and structures. “


Ellen Fullman with Theresa Wong
The Long String Instrument




SUPER NORMAL Sensations of the ordinary
Jasper Morrison & Naoto Fukasawa


“Design makes things seem special, and who wants normal if they can have special? And that’s the problem. What has grown naturally and unselfconsciously over the years cannot easily be replaced. The normality of a street of shops which has developed over time, offering various products and trades, is a delicate organism. Not that old things shouldn’t be replaced or that new things are bad, just that things which are designed to attract attention are usually unsatisfactory. There are better ways to design than putting a big effort into making something look special. Special is generally less useful than normal, and less rewarding in the long term. Special things demand attention for the wrong reasons, interrupting potentially good atmosphere with their awkward presence.”
Jasper Morrison

“Super Normal” is less concerned with designing beauty than seemingly homely but memorable elements of everyday life. Certainly nothing “flash”or “eye-catching”; never contrived, but rather almost “naff” yet somehow appealing. As if, when viewing something with expectations of a new design, our negative first impressions of “nothing much” or “just plain ordinary” shifted to “… but not bad at all.” Overcoming an initial emotional denial, our bodily sensors pick up on an appeal we seem to have known all along and engage us in that strangely familiar attraction. Things that possess a quality to shake us back to our senses are “Super Normal.”
Naoto Fukasawa



“Good-aesthetic” split from “good-ethical” and we began fetishizing designed objects—objects originally designed to function within a grander philosophical scheme.”

“After many years in design, I believe that if a room or app or jacket is created with an understanding of what materials can do, of what humans and flora and fauna and the ocean and the air need in order to function in their natural cycles—and what in some way makes existence better for someone or something, then that design is good design, no matter what it looks like. If it’s not hiding something from you, not convincing you to buy things you don’t need, if it goes with the grain and not against it, then it’s good design.”

Design for life


Call Of The Avant-Garde Constructivism And Australian Art - Heide Museum

For more than one hundred years, artists have drawn inspiration from the early twentieth-century avant-garde movement Constructivism. Its abstract forms, utopian ideals and vision of art’s vital role in constructing a new society have continued to act as a beacon for artists of successive generations in many countries. This extensive survey of over seventy artists explores how Australian artists have responded to this ground breaking modernist movement and its enduring call upon their imaginations from the 1930s to the present day.

One of the most far-reaching modernist movements, Constructivism fundamentally changed the course of the twentieth-century art and design through it's language of geometric forms, it's utopian aspirations and visions of artists role in society. In Australia, the first abstract artists influenced by constructivist precepts emerged as part of this broader movement of International Constructivism. Taking their work into the factories and onto the streets the aligned themselves  with industry and utilitarian purpose. 


06.05.16 - Illustrations

For the next four weeks as part of our Developing Communication Expertise studio, we are concentrating on Illustration. Illustration scares me because it is not something that I have given a lot of time to in the last few years and when I am asked to do it, I feel this panic grow inside of me when really it should be something to look forward to. I find most illustrators fascinating, the way they can envision something and it turns out exactly how they want on paper. So this is something I am trying NOT to do. 

At this stage, I am taking cues from some of my favourite artists and illustrators to help me form my own personal style. Anyone that knows me knows that I naturally gravitate towards minimalism, and so I wanted to share a few of the artists I love here as well as some of my own work which is clearly influenced by these artists. 

Ellsworth Kelly

Ellsworth Kelly has been a widely influential force in the post-war art world. maintaining a persistent focus on the dynamic relationships between shape, form and colour, Ellsworth Kelly was one of the first to create irregularly shaped canvasses. His subsequent layered reliefs, flat sculptures, and line drawings further challenged viewers conceptions of space. While not adhering to any one artistic movement, Kelly vitally influenced the development of Minimalism, Hard-edged painting, Colour Field and Pop Art. 

Kelly intends for viewers to experience his artwork with instinctive, physical responses to the works structure, colour, and surrounding space rather than with contextual or interpretative analysis. He encourages a kind of silent encounter, or bodily participation by the viewer with the artwork, chiefly by presenting bold and contrasting colours free of gestural brushstrokes or recognisable imagery, panels protruding gracefully from the wall, and irregular forms inhabiting space as confidently as the viewer before them.   


Christiane Spangsberg

Christiane Spangsberg is an artist that I originally found on instagram. In truth, I've not been as excited about an artist or their artwork in a very long time. There is something so evocative about Christiane's portraiture work, just that one line moving so effortlessly around the page. Every curve, every corner presents an emotional response, each line playfully interacting with one another, bouncing back and forth to create one artist's interpretation of a face. Individually imperfect. Even beautiful - just as we all are, in our own right.For me, it was foremost Christiane's work that did the talking, though in addition to this, her creative thinking and personal response to every comment below each image made me not only want to invest in the work, but in the person behind it. That's one of the advantages of a platform like instagram, when used correctly you can draw a relationship between the work and the artist, each enriched by the other. 


Anish Kapoor

While these examples are not illustrations, Anish Kapoor is one of my favourite artists. He is one of a generation of British based sculptors who became established during the 1980s and is prominent in the contemporary art field for the quality of hermetic lyricism that permeates his work. he is acknowledged a bearing on his art of both Western and eastern culture. The powerful spiritual and mythological resonances of his sculptures arise in part from frequent trips home to India. natural materials such as sandstone, marble and slate are used with raw powdered pigments of vivid hues. 

In the late 1980s and 1990s, he was acclaimed for his explorations of matter and non-matter, specifically evoking the void in both free-standing sculptural works and ambitious installations. Many of his sculptures seem to recede into the distance, disappear into the ground or distort the space around them. In 1987, he began working in stone. His later stone works are made of solid, quarried stone, many of which have carved apertures and cavities, often alluding to, and playing with dualities (earth-sky, matter-spirit, lightness-darkness, visible-invisible, conscious-unconscious, male-female, and body-mind). "In the end, I’m talking about myself. And thinking about making nothing, which I see as a void. But then that’s something, even though it really is nothing."

Since 1995, he has worked with the highly reflective surface of polished stainless steel. These works are mirror-like, reflecting or distorting the viewer and surroundings. Over the course of the following decade Kapoor's sculptures ventured into more ambitious manipulations of form and space. He produced a number of large works, including Taratantara (1999),a 35-metre-high piece installed in the Baltic Flour Mills in Gateshead, England, before renovation began there; and Marsyas (2002), a large work consisting of three steel rings joined by a single span of PVC membrane that reached end to end of the 3,400-square-foot (320 m2) Turbine Hall of Tate Modern. Kapoor's Eye in Stone (Norwegian: Øye i stein) is permanently placed at the shore of the fjord in Lødingen in northern Norway as part of Artscape Nordland. In 2000, one of Kapoor's works, Parabolic Waters, consisting of rapidly rotating coloured water, was shown outside the Millennium Dome in London.

The use of red wax is also part of his repertoire, evocative of flesh, blood, and transfiguration. In 2007, he showed Svayambh (which translated from Sanskrit means "self-generated"), a 1.5-metre block of red wax that moved on rails through the Nantes Musée des Beaux-Arts as part of the Biennale estuaire; this piece was shown again in a major show at the Haus Der Kunst in Munich and in 2009 at the Royal Academy in London. Some his work blurs the boundaries between architecture and art. In 2008, Kapoor created Memory in Berlin and New York for the Guggenheim Foundation, his first piece in Cor-Ten, which is formulated to produce a protective coating of rust. Weighing 24 tons and made up of 156 parts, it calls to mind Richard Serra’s huge, rusty steel works, which also invite viewers into perceptually confounding interiors.