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"purpose" Tag


Beauty is the harmony of purpose and form.


Thursday, February 15, 2018

Alvor Aalto : Screen 100

Skærmbillede 2018-01-18 kl. 16.17.03

Alvor Aalto was born in 1898. Most of his childhood and youth he lived in Jyväskylä, a town in the center of Finland, surrounded by the big finish nature. Thousand of lakes and woods with millions of birch trees, must have influenced the young Aalto.
In his work nature is always present, either in the organic shape of the products or the choice of materials. And Finland is present, one can say that Finland is with Aalto and that Aalto is with Finland.

Aalto was both an architect and a designer. It is very obvious in one of his early works, the Paimio Sanatorium. In addition to the new and functional building he also designed all interior for the building. Today the Paimio Chair is probably the most well-known Aalto chair from that time. It was designed for the patients, functionality and mass production was important issues, together with the organic shape it all makes the chair an icon of good design.

Skærmbillede 2018-01-18 kl. 16.17.48

“Beauty is the harmony of purpose and form.”  Alvor Aalto 1928.

Alvor Aalto has had an immense impact on our perception of Scandinavian design today.
In 1935 he founded the company Artek together with his wife Aino and Nils-Gustave Hahl and Maire Gullichsen. The company should handle the sale of Alto furniture, but they wanted to take it further. They saw themselves as promoters of “Rational living and interior Design” (as they write in ‘the Artek Manifesto’). In other words they wanted to educate people and teach about the ”good life”.

All over Europe design changed or evolved in to something more functional, modern and lighter. There was a new way of thinking, new production possibilities and materials. Just think of the Bauhaus movement in Germany. In Aalto’s design he combines that thinking with natural materials and organic shapes.

It is evident in the screen 100 from 1936. The construction is so simple. Wooden sticks assembled with a metal wire. When the screen is used as a room divider or a simple screen it forms different organic shapes.
The repetition of the vertical wooden sticks leads the minds to forests with beautiful slender birch trees. An effect Alvor Alto also used, when he worked with different expressions on the facade of his buildings. That can be seen on the picture of the finish pavilion which Aalto made for the world exhibition in New York in 1939.

Skærmbillede 2018-01-18 kl. 16.17.31

The screen has been sold since late 1930s. At the Stedelijk, I found it attractive and it caught my attention at first because of the simplicity and round shape.

On the attached picture it can be seen in the Artek Showroom in Helsinki in the late 1930s.  Today it is still for sale in the Artek Showroom together with the Paimio Chair and many other Aalto products.

Even though Alvor Aalto made fantastic design he still wanted the user to influence the design.

 “ A standardized object should not be a finished product, but on the contrary be made so that man and all the individual laws controlling him supplement its form.” Alvar Aalto 1935 

The Screen is a standardized object, but the user is the one who forms it.

Skærmbillede 2018-01-18 kl. 16.17.18

A small conclusion:

Why did I try to build the screen, how was it and what happened on the way?

At first when I saw this screen, my first thought was that I wanted it at home. It looked so simple and gentle in it’s look. How it stood there and divided the exhibition with its calmness and simpleness. But still what I was fascinated by, was that it was also simple to make, it is basically just sticks put together and then the shape makes it stand.

But such an iconic and great design object needs time to make. And often with design and especially Scandinavian design, simple stuff takes the longest.

Therefore I decided to build a model myself, I wanted to try and put myself in the making and designing of this. It was fun, I made a small 1:10 scale model

IMG_6040 IMG_6039 IMG_6038 IMG_6037

The small model didn’t give me any trouble that I didn’t expect. It was simple and easy and a very honest object. I think If I scaled it up I would have had more trouble and I would have been confronted with some other problems.

But all in all it was clear for me after trying to make a model and looking into the design and production of this, that this object is very honest.

It is exactly what you see.

IMG_6036 IMG_6035 IMG_6034

Purpose


Thursday, October 26, 2017

266px-J.J.P._Oud 260px-Landing_of_De_Vonk_by_architect_Oud Cafe_De_Unie

Jacobus Johannes Pieter Oud is a dutch de stijl architect. In his early career he was mainly inspired by Berlage. Buildings he designed were really geometric, he used long staright walls, rounded corners, horizontal and vertical lines. And these elements would cover an open space inside. He was interested in using unexpensive building materials and on the buildings he didnt want a trace of human hand. He was also interested in how the light comes in the building, how clean and fresh does the building look and feel. In his sketches you can see how he also sketches the entrance of the light into the space. Between 1918-1933 he was Municipal Housing Architect of Rotterdam. During these times the country was getting a lot of labor so he worked on mass housing for the coming workers. He didn’t want to use the traditional way of using bricks. Other two examples of his known works would be: Vakantiehuis De Vonk, it was made for working women so they could spend their weekends outdoors and be involved with the countryside. What makes this building special are the tiles on the main hall. They were painted by Theo van Doesburg to include painting in architecture and they thought this would make people interested in art when they were staying there. The other example would be Cafe de Unie. It was not really liked when it was built. Outside of the building looks like a Mondriaan painting. With the use of these primary colors and illuminated signs they wanted to attract attention. The building was destroyed during the 1940 bombardment and was reconstructed later.

What I want to investigate further is the situation in Vakantiehuis De Vonk. Can we really make people interested in something by just putting it ”there”?  Or did the answer to this question change in time? In one of Oud’s projects (Vakantiehuis De Vonk), they painted the floor tiles on different colors and it was designed by Theo van Doesburg. They wanted people who go into the building get into art by experiencing it. When I think about it, the purpose of commercials is the make the consumer interested in the product. Does this really work now in 2017 ? We have internet and social media. We are living in times that is extremely easy to reach people. So you would think that it would work amazingly because when you think about it a lot more people actually see the commercials now therefore the sales should go up right? Well, online commercials are everywhere but people are not seeing it. A personal example would be: when i am just scrolling through social media, I don’t stop scrolling until I see something that immediately grabs my attention. Let’s say an AD grabbed my attention, as soon as i realise that it is an AD I would just go back to my endless scrolling to the depths of the internet. More general example would be Adobe’s researches about ADBlocking. In the graphs they made as a result you can see that adblock users keep growing daily and in January 2015 monthly active users were 181 million. So in conclusion I would say in 2017 ads are definetely seen by a large group but it doesn’t interest people. The reason i am giving an example from online advertising is according to the research done by Nielsen(2013-2015) shows us that the most effective way of advertising is online. By these information I could say that these days placing something somewhere to make people interested in it doesn’t work really well.

So in the making of Vakantiehuis De Vonk, the artwork became a commercial and art became the product. But this is not the only way to use art. I think we can all agree on that in contemporary art doesn’t carry this purpose of making people interested in it but also we can’t deny that artists, sometimes in groups and sometimes indiviudually give art their own purpose. So I can say that art is subjective. Therefore, using art for a purpose would only work if the audience had the same ideas in art with the artist.

PRPS

BIG CHUNK, little purpose


Saturday, October 10, 2015

When I first heard about the task of choosing a pair of compared design objects in the Boymans van Beuningen exhibition “Design Derby” –where Dutch design is being compared to Belgium design– I thought it was going to be a long and painful process since I have never been interested in design. Especially not in furniture design which I know nothing about. It was a relief when I found out that the exhibition was well organized and the objects presented were described in an understandable manner. At first I had to take several strolls through the exhibition before I realized what my choice should be, and it was no other then the Grandfather clocks. Seeing them made the choice so easy that I even didn’t think about how hard it would be to compare them. That turned out to be difficult, since only later I realized I know nothing about the styles of design and even the point of owning one is completely unclear to me.

002_rb-image-1778000

So these are the clocks that I ended up choosing, The one on the left is Designed by a Belgium artists Georges Hobe and architect Antoine Pompe in 1902 while the other clock at the right is designed by a Dutch designer Christiaan Wegerif also in 1902. You can see that both of the clocks are made at the same time, yet they are completely different. The Dutch designed clock is much more masculine and solid, also it has more detail and decor in general. The Belgium clock meanwhile is famine and is more about the function, It hasn’t been overly decorated and is just as complicated as it needs to be in order to serve its function. To have a general idea of what similar types of clocks look like and how they are the same or different you can visit this link that sells german grandfather clocks or this that sells grandfather clocks in general and has some background info as well.

So after the exhibition I thought to my self what the reason was of making this, (now seemingly) foolish choice that seemed so easy and clear at the moment I made it. Suddenly it clicked to me; my grandmother, she used to have several Grandfather clocks, and only now I started understanding how sad it is that I never paid attention to them. I never had the chance of asking her why does still keep them. My grand mother was very old and as I noticed, the clocks just became closer to her with time, after she got moved to an old people home, she took only few belongings with her, few pictures, bottle of cognac and one of the grandfather clocks. I guess there it served as a reminder of past and the overall importance of time.

So due to the lack of information on the specific Grandfathers clock’s of my choice I decided to do a general research and the first thing that was unclear to me was the origin of the name “Grandfather clock” why not Grandmother clock or just Tall clock? Once again it all comes down to pop music, its named after a song “My Grandfather’s Clock” performed by an American songwriter named Henry Work [x], who wrote a song about a clock which stopped working the same minute of the day when the last surviving owner died and happened to be a grandfather, you might think that this is a made up myth but let me surprise you that the chances of this actually happening are pretty high since the less expensive clocks at that time needed to be wound every day or they just stopped working. The Grandfather clock is usually 1.8 – 2.4 meters tall and is a weight driven pendulum mechanism that is located in the tower or the waist of the body, this kind of clock was first developed in 1670 by an English clockwork William Clement.

Longcase_clock antique grandfather clock Friese staande klok

Until early 20th century these were the most accurate time keeping technologies so they were often kept by huge businesses and rich households. Now they only serve as decorative objects since it needs a lot more maintenance then a everyday wrist watch and most people now don’t have the TIME for that. Since I have a very limited interest and knowledge of history I decided to take a look at some modern day grandfather clocks, and I was rather sad to find out that with few exceptions they are not made by hand anymore and they have all become electronic. So I found very few companies that still make handcrafted clocks but only this Kauffman’s company offers to make a clock costum made just for you and how ever you want it so it has a much higher value and can relate to a specific family which in this case I think is very important. Though I must admit that the clocks made by hand then and now are not pleasing to my taste, and I find the modern ones more aesthetic and visually appealing for example this black and simple clock.

BLACK_CLOCK_1

At the same time by loosing the need of a huge item that serves only the purpose of showing time they now serve new purposes that previously just couldn’t fit in the same casing with a pendulum mechanism. They can have built in drawers or be used as book shelves a and probably many other new purposes could be thought of. Here you can see the same clock as previously but opened and instead of the pendulums you have a set of drawers, that could be used perhaps for your dirty underwear that you wish to hide from the public eye.

BLACK_CLOCK_OPEN

Another great function but a rather ugly outcome.

CLOCK_BOOK

I think the shape of clocks should not be forgotten, they just need to be redesigned to serve more purposes then showing time or they can just as well turn in to art pieces since they have such a strong image and meaning as a thing on it’s own, for example artist Maarten Baas has done few works that relate to grandfather clock directly or to time in genera. Most related to this subject would be his work “Real time” where instead of the usual clock face there is an LCD screen within the clock that shows a human inside the clock drawing the time on the clock face. Read about three contemporary artists that explore the general concept of time.

I personally don’t like clocks at all since they just keep reminding me of the amounts of time I have wasted on useless activities. So I would need a grandfather clock that goes backward and is constantly fooling me or doesn’t show time at all. Something like this…

CLOCK_FOR_ME

 


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