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The genius of design June 29, 2011

Posted by Cameron Shelley in : Events , trackback

I have recently watched a documentary series entitled The genius of design. The series consists of five parts, which are all accessible as playlists on YouTube:

  1. Episode 1, on design as a profession;
  2. Episode 2, on the development of modern design, concerning mass production and approaches to it through modernism in Europe and Industrial Design in the US;
  3. Episode 3, concerning the effect of WWII on design and mass production, contrasting the emphasis on quality in Nazi Germany versus the rough-and-ready approach adopted by Germany’s enemies;
  4. Episode 4, about the role of plastics in modern design, from high hopes to humdrum;
  5. Episode 5, about design from the era of plastic (did that ever end?) until the iPod.

The series is well made, with an appropriate mix of product shots, talking heads, and sound bite philosophy. (I mean that in a good way.) Each episode leaves the viewer with some interesting information but without glib pronouncements, although episode one comes close to being a mere paen to genius of designers in shaping the world we live in. Instead, we are invited to consider the problem of whether or not design, meaning industrial design, has served society well. Have a look and see what you think.


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