on Jarl Heger, ‘Danish Democratic Design’ [reading]

feb 15 09

‘A tender birth of democratic design culture!’ exclaims Heger.

after learning about the bauhaus at MIT last fall and studying its impact on American architecture, it’s fascinating to see how the bauhaus has also influenced the functionalist tradition in Denmark.  Phrases like “the growth of a  social awareness” and “from the few to the many” sound very familiar…

i am interested in more concrete reasons for how democratic design found its roots in denmark — other than  ‘higher social or democratic awareness among most of cultural leaders since 1800, combined with general interest and affections for simple unpretentious solutions and local traditions.’

[and what about the birth of design criticism?  Jarl Heger notes Poul Henningson as ‘a keen social castigator and design reviewer…he was the acid in the late twenties formalism.’]

one point that was continually brought up in class was the idea that danish people, as a whole, seem to be more aware and conscientious of design than their american counterparts.  for example, the role of the ‘brugskunst’ concept [articles/art for everyday use] seems much more prevalent here, in both an aesthetic and functional manner of value than in the US.  is that a result of democratic design, or a fertile source of democratic design in denmark?


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