Edited by Dutch designer Marjanne van Helvert, The Responsible Object: A History of Design Ideology for the Future concerns itself with design ideology related to social change since the beginning of modernism. Throughout the history of design, designers have connected form with ideals that go beyond just aesthetics. They thought about ways in which the objects they designed could influence their surroundings, change lives or modify behaviour. Some of them were very explicit and ambitious in their desire to change the world, and some of them were not. Some designers wrote about it or talked about it in interviews, while others let their work speak for itself. Some changed their minds over the course of their careers and let go of their ideals.
What did these designers want to achieve through their ideological designs? How successful were they? How did they influence each other? Did their designs bring about change? Did the measure of success or popularity of a design have anything to do with the ideals behind it?
The Responsible Object examines these questions through an exploration of prominent designers and movements from the beginning of modernism to the present, and focusses on industrial design and its considerable influence on both consumer culture and design culture. Moreover the book delves into the question of if and how the ideologies of these respective designers and movements are interconnected, and if they are relevant in helping us solve problems in the present so that we will, indeed, have a future.
The question of sustainability in itself may not always have been immediate in the history of design. Yet many design ideologies of the past can provide inspiring propositions for contemporary issues. In a time when many designers are once again idealists, perhaps we can learn from the pioneers that came before them.
Contributors: Andrea Bandoni, Ece Canli, Alison Clarke, Éva Forgács, Marjanne van Helvert, Susan Henderson, Ed van Hinte, Elizabeth Miller, Luiza Prado de O. Martins, Pedro J.S. Vieira de Oliveira
Publisher: Valiz, Amsterdam
Date of release: October 2016
Size 24x17cm, 288 pages
The Responsible Object can be ordered online from the publisher.