“As a painter, typographer, photographer, stage designer, and architect, Moholy was one of the most creative intelligences of our time.”
– Herbert Read
One of the great innovators of the European avant-garde, László Moholy-Nagy (1895-1946) is best known for his affiliation with the famous Bauhaus school in Germany, where he taught from 1923-28. In 1937, at the invitation of Walter Paepcke, the Chairman of the Container Corporation of America, Moholy-Nagy moved to Chicago to become the director of the New Bauhaus. The philosophy of the school was basically unchanged from that of the original, and its headquarters was the Prairie Avenue mansion that architect Richard Morris Hunt designed for department store magnate Marshall Field.
Unfortunately, the school lost the financial backing of its supporters after only a single academic year and it closed in 1938. Paepcke, however, continued his own support, and in 1939, Moholy-Nagy opened the School of Design. In 1944, this became the Institute of Design, located in Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s, Crown Hall at the Illinois Institute of Technology.
“Design has many connotations. It is the organization of materials and processes in the most productive, economic way, in a harmonious balance of all elements necessary for a certain function. It is not a matter of façade, of mere external appearance; rather it is the essence of products and institutions, penetrating and comprehensive. Designing is a complex and intricate task. It is integration of technological, social and economic requirements, biological necessities, and the psychophysical effects of materials, shape, color, volume, and space: thinking in relationships. The designer must see the periphery as well as the core, the immediate and the ultimate, at least in the biological sense. He must anchor his special job in the complex whole. The designer must be trained not only in the use of materials and various skills, but also in appreciation of organic functions and planning. He must know that design is indivisible, that the internal and external characteristics of a dish, a chair, a table, a machine, painting, sculpture are not to be separated. The idea of design and the profession of the designer has to be transformed from the notion of a specialist function into a generally valid attitude of resourcefulness and inventiveness which allows projects to be seen not in isolation but in relationship with the need of the individual and the community. One cannot simply lift out any subject matter from the complexity of life and try to handle it as an independent unit.”
(Moholy-Nagy, Vision in Motion, 1947)
“There is design in organization of emotional experiences, in family life, in labor relations, in city planning, in working together as civilized human beings. Ultimately all problems of design merge into one great problem: ‘design for life’. In a healthy society this design for life will encourage every profession and vocation to play its part since the degree of relatedness in all their work gives to any civilization its quality. This implies that it is desirable that everyone should solve his special task with the wide scope of a true “designer” with the new urge to integrated relationships. It further implies that there is no hierarchy of the arts, painting photography, music, poetry, sculpture, architecture, nor of any other fields such as industrial design. They are equally valid departures toward the fusion of function and content in design.”
(Moholy-Nagy, Vision in Motion, 1947)
An exhaustive visual compendium of the modern movement, circa 1947. Includes many examples of Bauhaus and the New Bauhaus (Institute of Design). Designers, photographers, architects and artists represented in this volume are a cross-section of the 20th-century modern movement: Alvar Aalto, Berenice Abbot, Jean Arp, Willie Baumeister, Herbert Bayer, Max Bill, Marcel Breuer, Robert Brownjohn, Le Corbusier, Theo van Doesburg, Henry Dreyfuss, Naum Gabo, Morton Goldsholl, Juan Gris, Walter Gropius, Raoul Hausmann, Kasimir Malevich, Herbert Matter, Mies van der Rohe, Piet Mondrian, Richard Neutra, Ben Nicholson, Paul Rand, Bernard Rodofsky, Ladislav Sutnar, Angelo Testa, James Prestini, Frank Lloyd Wright and many others.
Vision in Motion: László Moholy-Nagy, Hardcover, 9″ x 11″, 376 pages, 440 illustrations (11 in color). Book Design and Typography by the Author. Rare and Out of Print.
Buy it here: Amazon
One of world’s most respected authorities on design and antiques, Judith Miller, presents a carefully curated selection of chairs and places them in their historical context. Nearly 400 years of chair designs are featured in chronological order, ranging from early antiques such as the 1680 Wainscot Chair and the 1740 Louis XV Chaise Longue, to modern day collectables such as Marc Newson’s 1988’s Embryo and Tom Dixon’s 2007 Wingback.
Beautifully Photographed in situ by Nick Pope, the chairs assume their iconic status; an occasional two-page spread shows incredible detail, revealing the craftsmanship and creative energy of the designer. The accompanying text for each chair gives a real insight into the thinking of the designer, historical facts, technical details, and places it in context to the manufacturing capabilities of its time, as well as identifying the period style to which the chair belongs.
“Sometimes I think you are unlikely to be a successful architect or designer unless you have designed a classic chair; and this is not just a contemporary phenomenon”.
- Terence Conran
Time is naturally marked by repeating astronomical phenomena, by the daily cycle and the seasons, as nights and months come and go. To slice it into finer fractions, our forbears invented sundials, which track the movement of the shadows projected by the sun, or clepsydra, hourglass-like devices that count time based on a consistent rate of water flow. But ever since 1657, when the first watch was created, we have used the oscillatory movements of a mechanical system to do that job. The photographer Guido Mocafico, whose previous books include Venenum, Medusa and Serpens, sets out in this new project, Movement, to observe these systems. He chose complex and rare mechanisms–physically mechanical rather than electronic–which led him into a world of traditional knowledge controlled by master watchmakers. To remove the back from one of their tiny creations is to plunge into an unknown world: these images of the tiny springs, levers, screws and gears that drive the hands of time forward, etched with the slightest texture possible and engraved in the smallest type possible, present an abiding mystery of the everyday, representative of all of the technologies we have come to take for granted. Mocafico was born in Switzerland in 1962. A specialist in still life, he works for international magazines such as Vogue, French Vogue, The Face and Wallpaper. Based in Paris, he has also undertaken numerous advertising campaigns for Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Clinique, Shiseido and Hermès.
Guido Mocafico: Movement, Edited by Patrick Remy. Text by François-Paul Journe, Stephen Forsey, Antoine Simonin. ISBN: 9783865214553
Buy it here: Amazon
Fifty Chairs That Changed The World lists the top 50 chairs that have made a substantial impact in the world of design today. It includes design classics from Thonet’s 1870 Side Chair to Konstantin Grcic’s Chair_One. It is possible to trace a remarkable complete history of design in the last 150 years through a sequence of chairs. The Design Museum values its collection of contemporary chairs, and this book provides an introduction into 50 of the key chairs that have shaped the story of design.
Fifty Chairs That Changed the World – The Design Museum, Hardback, 202 x 152 mm,
112 Pages, Published by Conran Octopus Ltd,
Buy it here: Amazon
The Cold War is over, yet its traces are still visible. Dutch documentary photographer Martin Roemers decided to track down the remains of this period. For over ten years he repeatedly traveled through formerly hostile countries on both sides of the line. He descended into underground tunnels; photographed abandoned control centers, old barracks, wrecked tanks, and ruined statues. In his images the era of enmity, the politics of deterrence, and the arms race appear ongoing and vivid, serving as a reminder for a future of peace.
Martin Roemers. Relics of the Cold War, Published by Hatje Cantz, Edited by Nadine Barth, texts by Nadine Barth, H.J.A. Hofland, Martin Roemers, 144 pp., 73 color illustrations, 25.7 x 28.6 cm, hardcover, ISBN 9783775725347
This unusual “book as object” designed by Dutch book designer Irma Boom is a hefty brick of a book, which features 700 prints, posters and other objects from the collection of Zurich’s Gestaltung Museum. Founded in 1875, the museum is renowned worldwide for its unsurpassed holdings of design masterpieces including, Ettore Sottsass’s design classic, Valentine Typewriter for Olivetti, Paul Rand’s 1950 poster for the film No Way Out, works by El Lissitzky and Harry Bertoia, as well as works by important designers, textile artists and sculptors. The book is organized according to various criteria, and almost every page is a full sized image, that gives the impression of experiencing the entire collection in a manageable format.
Every Thing Design, The Collections of the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich, Edited by Christian Brändle, Verena Formanek. Text by Christian Brändle, Glenn Adamson, Published by Hatje Cantz, Hardcover, 864 pp., 700 Color Illustrations, 12.8 x 15.7 cm,
Buy it here: Amazon
We are experiencing a renaissance in furniture design with new forms, new directions, a focus on social responsibility and a blurring of the boundaries between art and design; strangely this movement resembles the values of the Bauhaus school, founded over 90 years ago. Once Upon a Chair is a survey of contemporary trends in design that are influenced by craft, folklore, nature, and technology, especially as it relates to new ways of designing and manufacturing. The book is full of examples and illustrations by well-known and up-and-coming designers, many of which are featured on Daily Icon and many that will surprise and delight you.
Once Upon a Chair examines several key trends indicating a recognisable shift towards progressive design that makes a social impact – designers are collaborating with artisans to revive the tradition of craft, elevating it to new levels of luxury. A conscious effort to produce sustainable and ethical design is also evident where designers are not only working with environmentally friendly material and production methods but also creating furnishings that are made to be durable and retain their value over a long period of time.
The book further explores how designers are focusing more on process-driven and storytelling concepts to create furniture systems that are flexible, crafted in a collage-like manner or even decorative objects that serve as interior installations. A continuing flirtation with organic forms can also be seen with pioneering examples of material and technological experimentation, many of which are characterised by an unrestrained, playful attitude with an ironic exuberance.
Once Upon a Chair: Design Beyond the Icon Published by Gestalten, Foreword by Andrej Kupetz, Managing Director of the German Design Council, Edited by, R. Klanten,
S. Ehmann, A. Kupetz, S. Moreno, Hardback: 22.7 x 28.1 cm, 272 pages, Full Colour,
Buy it here: Amazon
This year the Bauhaus School celebrates 90 years since its founding, and Berlin is hosting an exhibition of around 1,000 artifacts, objects and artworks, the exhibition takes place in the Martin Gropius-Bau building before traveling to MoMA in New York.
Founded in Weimar in 1919, located in Dessau beginning in 1925, and closed in Berlin in 1933 the Bauhaus continues to be the most effective and successful export article of twentieth-century German culture. Even more than seventy years after it was closed, this interdisciplinary school for art, architecture, design, and theater has not lost any of its currentness.
A book will accompany the exhibition, documenting some of the most important works, including the newly re-discovered Marcel Breuer and Gunta Stölzl’s early Bauhaus African Chair and Laszlo Moholy Nagy’s Light Space modulator – a kinetic sculpture from the 1930′s; paintings and sculpture by Kandinksy, Albers and Klee as wells as works by Walter Gropius, Hannes Mayer and Mies van der Rohe.
This profusely illustrated, comprehensive publication with around four hundred color illustrations re-examines and re-evaluates the art school’s history and influence. In this collaborative project by the three leading institutes at the former sites of the Bauhaus’s activities–the Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin, the Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau, and the Bauhaus-Museum der Klassik Stiftung Weimar–the historic Bauhaus and the trail of its reception are closely examined and analyzed based on sixty-eight selected highlights, including the hitherto neglected aspects of the Bauhaus during the period of National Socialism as well as its international propagation and commercialization.
Exhibition schedule: Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin, July 22–October 4, 2009 – Museum of Modern Art, New York, November 3, 2009–January 18, 2010
Bauhaus: A Conceptual Model, Edited by Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin, Klassik Stiftung Weimar, Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau, introduction by Annemarie Jaeggi, texts by Barry Bergdoll, Klaus von Beyme, Regina Bittner, Gerda Breuer, Magdalena Droste, Peter Hahn, Christine Hopfengart, Christoph Ingenhoven, Michael Siebenbrodt, Klaus Weber u.a.,
English, 376 pages, 302 Illustrations, 236 in color, 29.9 x 26.6 cm, Hardcover, ISBN 9783775724159, Publisher: Hatje Cantz
Buy it here: Amazon
Papercraft is an extensive and timely survey of innovative art and design work crafted from paper. It explores the astounding possibilities of paper craft in all shapes and sizes – some are playful, whimsical and quick to produce while others are far more intricate and created in painstaking detail. From the most basic techniques including cutting, folding, gluing and collage to the use of cutting-edge technology like embossing and laser cutting, paper and cardboard-crafted works are reaching new artistic heights.
The book gathers the most extraordinary creations from small objects and figures to large-scale art installations and urban interventions as well as three-dimensional graphic sculptures from a vast spectrum of artistic disciplines ranging from character design, urban art, fine art, graphic design, illustration, fashion, animation and film. Adding even more value, this illustrated book also includes a DVD with printable templates for creating your own paper characters and toys as well as a curated selection of the best stop-motion animations.
Papercraft: Design and Art with Paper, Editors: R. Klanten, S. Ehmann, B. Meyer,
24cm x 30cm, 256 pages, full colour, hardcover, including DVD, ISBN: 9783899552515
Buy it here: Amazon
To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing, TASCHEN has paired Norman Mailer’s seminal text with spectacular photography–from the archives of NASA and LIFE magazine and many other sources-to create a unique tribute to the defining scientific mission of our era.
It has been called the single most historic event of the 20th century: On July 20, 1969 Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins met John F. Kennedy’s call for a manned Moon landing by the end of the 1960s. A decade of tests and training, a staff of 400,000 engineers and scientists, and a $24 billion budget climaxed with the launch of the most powerful rocket ever built, and an unprecedented event watched by millions the world over. And nobody captured the men, the mood, and the machinery like Norman Mailer.
MoonFire: The Epic Journey of Apollo 11 by Norman Mailer, Colum McCann,
Published by TASCHEN, Limited Edition of 1957 copies, No. 1–1957, Hardcover in a box + framed print, 36.5 x 44 cm, 350 pages ISBN: 9783836511797
Update: Now available as a standard hardcover edition.