Design and Technology

Going back to the history of design, specifically from the “Industrial Revolution (1800>1900)” – which started with the arrival of steam-powered machines, small scale production which then led to the introduction to mass production rather than hand made (more shoemaker factories and use of sewing machines) encouraging products to be made quicker.

Starting Point: 1900 – Taking a lead was the American system – Standardisation – Mass production – the impact of this whole process on design was it was now becoming ‘aesthetics being overtaken by engineering’ due to the fact that style was changing in the 20th century as “industrial designers” were being born, following that the birth of department stores and the consumer culture we know today in terms of fixed prices, lavish display and mass manufactured goods.

Within the class we then discussed within ourselves what we think drives design to change  and within ourselves what came up: competitive market – as we know businesses now days are all very competitive in order to try and get the right customer attention so therefore willing to do anything to make sure their products are more significant than others, social and economic conditions, environment and society.  We then considered the role ‘social, political and economic forces’ played in design and technology such as the first and second world war (pre, inter, post war era’s) taking into consideration how this would have impacted the people in terms of the emergence of consumer products – availability of jobs (retail, clerical etc.) but also the class system into capitalism, then political change ‘representation of the people’s act’ – women’s vote 1918 (1928 over 21s).

Consequence Of Modernism

  • Luxury and Modernity – we looked at 2 main products that you can say went through the change in the relationship between design and technology, which were the Ecko Radio, 1932 and Ronson Cigareae Lighter, 1925 both from the V&A Collection and the significant similarities in these products even though they are completely different were that firstly they are both aesthetically pleasing and do not look like what it is actually used for.
  • Gender and Design – We watched a clip from the movie “Gold Diggers of 1933” and from this noticed things such as the improvement of innovation, fabrication, influence of modernity but also women being objectified in order to signify masculine power.

In terms of how we can use design historical views in current practice, it could be said that in the early 1800s when mass production started to became a significant part of production and design, so therefore production levels were a lot higher in comparison to now as we are used to it so it is not that much desired as it was in the early 1800s.



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