craftsmanship + mass production [symposium 4]

feb 20 2009

the top 5 danish design objects that i interact with on a daily basis

-all of the objects can be said to blur the boundaries between industrial design / applied art / fine art
-the ultimate goal? both functional and aesthetic
-is it treated differently if it is handmade or mass produced?  that depends.  the more mass-produced something is, it tends to become more popular and well-circulated, perhaps leading to lower perceptions of value.  but the most successfully designed objects seem to transcend this somehow…

5. danish banknotes [2009], by karin brigitte lund – although the new ones are not yet mass produced or in circulation [50-kroner note comes out in august], i fork over danish kroner daily.  the sleek new bills are dedicated to bridges and other historical danish archaeological findings/design!


4. kitchenwares by menu (pipette glasses by lovorika banovic + salt/pepper tumblers by henriette melchiorsen, specifically) – after i first used this delightful tool to dribble syrup on my pancakes at brunch with my visiting danish family, it was love at first site with menu.  mass produced, but with a glorious hand-made touch – very functional, and very aesthetic. “The exciting boat shape of the bowl and its weightiness make a decorative feature and protect the table top from drips. Use our new plat-de-ménage for oil and vinegar for salads, maple syrup and honey for breakfast or pesto and truffle oil…”


3. poul henningsen’s ‘PH 5’ lamp [1958] – his most widely-(mass)-produced and ubiquitously-seen. (more on him later)


2. legos by Godtfred Kirk Christiansen [1958] – ok, maybe not everyday interaction, but enough during childhood to last awhile.  one of the most robust and ‘democratic’ toys ever made, encouraging an entrepreneurial sense of ‘craftsmanship’ in the kid — i am happy to see that grownups use legos as well, for all of those funny neo-communo-corporate-type ‘team building’ exercises.


1. arne jacobsen’s ant chair [1952] – on my first day in denmark, i sat in one of these.  (and probably every single day thereafter.)  light, stable, stackable, and extremely efficiently mass-produced, it can be seen coupled with a school desk or in a cafe or as a waiting/rest spot or lining the main hall of the glyptotek…


-do these designs evoke…feeling?  is there designer intent to evoke feeling?   perhaps to evoke a sense of familiarity and pride in terms of nationalism (5), the domestic sphere (4), a design tradition (3), learning and exploration (2), functionality (1).


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