Monday, November 5, 2012

The Design Pendulum

WHERE design is concerned, the pendulum swings constantly between empty ornamentation and pure concept. Some of my favourite works coming out of the Netherlands right now, strive for airtight concepts, though their visual implementations are usually quite simple and austere. On the same token, it’s been said that in the hands of a genius, pure execution can also be an idea!

Here’s a quote from 1923 that wrestles with this very issue, providing some food for thought that’s still relevant today.

“It is quite the fashion still as it had always been to depreciate the importance of technique, to put it down as the mechanical part of the book or picture, something subsidiary to the thought; but when, where, and how in the history of any art has there been great work without it? How does it happen that the world’s great writers, musicians, painters, sculptors are also the world’s great crasftmen.”


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