Wednesday, 11 February 2015

The Swissness of things

The first book looked at graphic design.  ISBN 978 3037783993

This the second book of Swiss design sponsored by the Museum fur Gestaltung in Zurich. The first title covered graphic design, this book has a much broader scope looking at product design though it does concentrate more on consumer rather commercial products. The book is divided into decades and because some design trends and style don't stop and start so neatly some of the essays look at their subject in a broader way, for example in the chapter devoted to the 1930s Arthur Ruegg writes about 'The 'New' light: 100 years of Swiss lighting design'. The ground breaking product exhibition 'Die gute form' created by Max Bill in 1949 is another example of design that influenced designers (and the public) in the following decades.

Each decade starts with a mini photo portfolio followed by products that get a page each with relevant text and captions. The illustrated essays are mixed in with these product pages. I thought the choice of illustrations (about seven hundred) throughout the book was excellent, products are shown in use plus studio shots, designer concept drawings and graphics connected to the product.

Like the other book on graphic design this one is beautifully designed and printed, the upright shape of both books give them an air of credibility. The back pages have a very comprehensive bibliography followed by an Index and biographies of the sixteen contributors. I think it's worth mentioning the translation by Jennifer Taylor, she has done a first-class job turning the original text into everyday English.

The perfect overview of Swiss design culture over the decades.

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