Thursday, May 17, 2007

archives of awesome

Designer and educator Victor Papanek (1927-1999) was a strong advocate of the socially and ecologically responsible design of products, tools, and community infrastructures. He disapproved of manufactured products that were unsafe, showy, maladapted, or essentially useless. His products, writings, and lectures were collectively considered an example and spur by many designers. Papanek was a philosopher of design and as such he was an untiring, eloquent promoter of design aims and approaches that would be sensitive to social and ecological considerations. He wrote that "design has become the most powerful tool with which man shapes his tools and environments (and, by extension, society and himself)."

"One of my first jobs after leaving school was to design a table radio," Papanek wrote in Design for the Real World. "This was shroud design: the design of external covering of the mechanical and electrical guts. It was my first, and I hope my last, encounter with appearance design, styling, or design ‘cosmetics’." And further, he opined: "Only a small part of our responsibility lies in the area of aesthetics."

In the same book, Papanek wrote: "Much recent design has satisfied only evanescent wants and desires, while the genuine needs of man have often been neglected by the designer."

(all text and images liberated from the interweb)