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Theo Zamenopoulos, of the OU design faculty, offers a glimpse into the ideological and historical context of design ideas and principles. With Emma Curtis, curator of the Design Museum, and Nathaniel Hepburn, curator of the Mascalls Art Gallery, Theo looks at the key ideas that emerged as the driving force behind design using specific examples from the history of chair design.
This material forms part of The Open University course T217 Design Essentials.
Track 1: Chairs – are you sitting comfortably?
What makes a good chair? Theo Zamenopoulos considers the factors that produce good design while sitting in his favourite place.
© The Open University
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Tracks in this podcast:
|1||Chairs – are you sitting comfortably?||What makes a good chair? Theo Zamenopoulos considers the factors that produce good design while sitting in his favourite place. Play now Chairs – are you sitting comfortably?|
|2||No chair is an island||No design is an island, entire in itself, they are all part of an ongoing conversation about what is good design Here Theo Zamenopoulos gives some examples of how design ideas and principles are not isolated from each other, but are highly interconnected. Play now No chair is an island|
|3||Vorsprung durch Technik: Michael Breuer’s B33||Emma Curtis, of the Design Museum, introduces the historical and ideological context of modernism in design. At the beginning of the 20th century new technology led to a growing optimism about the potential of design to change the world. One school, modernism, laid the foundation for machine-inspired design. Play now Vorsprung durch Technik: Michael Breuer’s B33|
|4||Protest, provocation and social responsibility: Gerrit Rietveld’s Crate Chair||Designs don’t just have utilitarian or aesthetic functions they can also have economic, social and political ones. Here Emma Curtis, of the Design Museum, discusses examples of designs that are driven by social responsibility. Play now Protest, provocation and social responsibility: Gerrit Rietveld’s Crate Chair|
|5||Semantics and form: Tom Dixon’s Crown Chair||By the end of the 60s, modernist principles came under severe criticism. One aspect of this criticism of modernism was the narrow interpretation of ‘what is function’. Here the OU’s Theo Zamenopoulos and Emma Curtis, of the Design Museum, discusses the principles that emerged which formed the post-modernism movement. Play now Semantics and form: Tom Dixon’s Crown Chair|
|6||Process-driven design: Konstantin Grcic’s Myto Chair||Theo Zamenopoulos discusses design where the process of designing has been instrumental for the design output. According to this perspective, the quality of designs depends not only on the designer’s vision about the design output but also the process that leads to its creation. Play now Process-driven design: Konstantin Grcic’s Myto Chair|
|7||Nature-inspired design: Frank Gehry’s Cross Check Chair||Nature has always been an inspiration for designers, both for its beautiful forms but also for the ways it solves problems. Here Emma Curtis, of the Design Museum, introduces the idea of using organic or nature-inspired forms in design. Play now Nature-inspired design: Frank Gehry’s Cross Check Chair|
|8||Less is more: Jasper Morrison’s Air-Chair||Is it possible to ‘over-design’ – to design beyond the functional requirements of a design? Here Emma Curtis, of the Design Museum, introduces a very influential design principle, 'less is more', otherwise known as minimalism. Play now Less is more: Jasper Morrison’s Air-Chair|
|9||Form follows function: Jerszy Seymour's PlayStation chair||Theo Zamenopoulos introduces arguably one of the most influential but also controversial principles in design – that idea that ‘form follows function’ – by looking at Jerszy Seymour's PlayStation chair. Play now Form follows function: Jerszy Seymour's PlayStation chair|
Originally published: Tuesday, 26th August 2014
- Body text - Content: Copyright The Open University
- Audio/Video tracks: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0 The Open University
- Image 'Design Essentials: are you sitting comfortably?' - Copyright: The Open University
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