Design a living thing. … There should be

Designas Art is considered by many as one of the most influential design books everpublished; it is a passionate case to democratize art, making design the gluebetween romanticism and pragmatism. From cover to cover, his case pulls a redthread that transcends all types of artistic expression.Munaribegins by saying:”Thedesigner of today re-establishes the long-lost contact between art and thepublic, between living people and art as a living thing. … There should be nosuch thing as art divorced from life, with beautiful things to look at andhideous things to use.

If what we use every day is made with art, and notthrown together by chance or caprice, then we shall have nothing to hide.”Thisbook shows me that a lot has changed since the Classical and Renaissance eras.Art is no longer a thing for the selected few. Instead, designers are becomingthe modern-day artists, whofuse his aesthetic beliefs with functionality, therefore creating objects usedby many effectively. Properly designed objects should make the user feels thepresence of the artist, who is bettering his life and encouraging him todevelop sense of beautyThis is abrilliant book. It is short and not an easy read.

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It is a book that does needto be read carefully and picked up again from time to time. Brunoclearly shows how design can be used as art, and he takes you through theinitial design process, and then through applications and critiques with care.Thewriting style is lucid and clear. He also debunks many myths. What I like, isthe complete lack of any pomposity in his writing, and the fact that throughhis book, I started to look at art and design with new eyesShort littlecollection of musings, experiments & criticism related to the state ofaffairs regarding design in Munari’s day and age. While his predictionsregarding the future of the aesthetic landscape might be off, for instance, theidea that the desires of the future consumer will be homogeneous and perhapsrather drab, he delivers several interesting takes on the world around him,sometimes delving into the innocence of the vision of a child, while at timessounding like an old man recollecting about the bygone days and the absurdityof the now.

What I found was one of the mostbrilliant explanations of the merit of industrial, graphics, and architecturaldesign I have come across yet. Munari’s very mid-century Italian humor pairswell with his immense knowledge of the tradition of commercial design as an artform. In many ways, Design as Art helped me learn to engage with everydayobjects as not just objects of utility, but expressions of culture andaesthetic value.  Either way, Munari basically said everything Dieter Rams wanted tosay about design in a much more round-about way, so kudos to him for that.It is interesting to see the image of design in the 50’s and the60’s that are portrayed clearly by Bruno Munari in this book.

 Design in that period is more related to engineering, architecture,mathematics, and physics. He introduces us something new at that time which isdesign as art that becomes the norm now. But, it’s quite technical and rigidexplanation that we will find in this book so might be a bit complicated tograsp Throughout the book Munari keeps going back to Japanese design,Asobi, Also means game, which he approves The reason for this is that Japanesedesign is oftentimes exactly what I’ve described above: it’s designing theobject as the object itself, and not an imitation of something else.

 Another important element of Japanese design is its closeconnection to the materials used–an intelligent use of each material dependingon its looks and properties. As a result, Japanese design embodies the objectwith both, its function, and the properties of the materials used.Take chopsticks.  Two pieces of wood.

The same pieces of wood can be served toanyone, regardless of their status, and regardless of the occasion. They aresimply designed, light and easy to make. They are cheap and you can throw themout after a meal. The only prerequisite for their use is to cut up the meatinto bite-size pieces beforehand.

Compare this to Western cutlery. You can buyall sorts of knives, forks, and spoons.  They can be cheap, expensive, steel, silver, funny, serious,light, heavy, and so on, and never mind the various utensils and knivesdesigned specifically for different dishes, whether that be some Parmesancheese, or a rack of lamb. Moving to a new house? You better make sure you’ve boughtall the various cutlery you’ll need.

The Western utensil is an explosion ofcomplexity whereas the chopstick is an eating tool reduced to its simplestform.    Design as Art Quotes:- “A designer is a planner with an aesthetic sense.” ? Bruno Munari, Design as Art “When the objects we use every day and the surroundings we live inhave become in themselves a work of art, then we shall be able to say that wehave achieved a balanced life.” ? Bruno Munari, Design as Art “What then is this thing called Design if it is neither style norapplied art? It is planning: the planning as objectively as possible ofeverything that goes to make up the surroundings and atmosphere in which menlive today. This atmosphere is created by all the objects produced by industry,from glasses to houses and even cities.

It is planning done withoutpreconceived notions of style, attempting only to give each thing its logicalstructure and proper material, and in consequence its logical form.” ? Bruno Munari, Design as Art “the vase once had an extremely common use. Most probably it wasused for cooking oil. It was made by a designer of those times when art andlife went hand in hand and there was no such thing as a work of art to look atand just any old thing to use. I” ? Bruno Munari, Design as Art  

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