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The World as Design Writings of Design von Aicher, Otl (eBook)

  • Erscheinungsdatum: 06.03.2015
  • Verlag: Ernst & Sohn
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The World as Design

Otl Aicher (1922–1991) was an outstanding personality in modern design, he was a co-founder of the legendary Hochschule für Gestaltung (HfG), the Ulm School of Design, Germany. His works since the fifties of the last century in the field of corporate design and his pictograms for the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich are major achievements in the visual communication of our times.

Otl Aicher's writings are explorations of the world, a substantive part of his work. In moving through the history of thought and design, building and construction, he assures us of the possibilities of arranging existence in a humane fashion. As ever he is concerned with the question of the conditions needed to produce a civilized culture. These conditions have to be fought for against apparent factual or material constraints and spiritual and intellectual substitutes on offer.

Otl Aicher likes a dispute. For this reason, the volume contains polemical statements on cultural and political subjects as well as practical reports and historical exposition. He fights with productive obstinacy, above all for the renewal of Modernism, which he claims has largely exhausted itself in aesthetic visions; he insists the ordinary working day is still more important than the "cultural Sunday".
Wolfgang Jean Stock

Produktinformationen

    Format: ePUB
    Kopierschutz: AdobeDRM
    Seitenzahl: 673
    Erscheinungsdatum: 06.03.2015
    Sprache: Englisch
    ISBN: 9783433605837
    Verlag: Ernst & Sohn
    Größe: 1253 kBytes
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The World as Design

introduction

by Wolfgang Jean Stock
1

In 1950, on a very early visit to the Federal Republic, Hannah Arendt noted: "If you watch the Germans bustling and stumbling through the ruins of their thousand-year-old history, you realize that this bustling has become their principal weapon for protecting themselves against reality."

Two years after currency reform and five years after the end of the war the shock of defeat and horror about the crimes committed in the name of Germany had been largely suppressed. In the face of everyday privations the majority of West Germans had accustomed themselves to the normality of survival. Responsibility for the causes and consequences of the Nazi regime was left aside amidst the compulsory reality of occupation and handling shortages. People began vigorous clearance of the fields of rubble, but the rubble inside them stayed where it was. Finally the Nuremberg trials worked as a kind of general absolution from the outside.

"Rebuilding" became the slogan and stimulus of the times. As early as 1948, in the Frankfurter Hefte , Walter Dirks pointed out how treacherous this word, increasingly interpreted as restoring the old order, could be. Anyone who spoke up for a new social and cultural structure rather than rebuilding the old state of things was unwittingly placed on the fringes of Wirtschaftswunder society, which was forming early. No wonder that a large number of cultural initiatives, particularly non-conformist newspapers and publishing houses, had to give up.
2

But one small group preparing around 1950 to find a new kind of higher educational establishment in Ulm on the Danube, managed to make a success of it. Inge Scholl and Otl Aicher had found out how great was the need for a new cultural direction in their work at the Volkshochschule in Ulm. With their friends they drew up a programme for a school of design on socio-political lines. Their educational concept combined an anti-fascist attitude with democratic hope. Graphics were to become social communication, and product design was to encourage humanization of everyday life. After a number of difficulties, especially in terms of finance, teaching started at the Hochschule für Gestaltung (HfG) in summer 1953. Two years later it moved into its own building, designed by Max Bill, on the Kuhberg in Ulm. The HfG wanted to work as a successor of the Bauhaus from its heights above the Danube valley, admittedly with a fundamental difference. While the Bauhaus saw training in fine art as a requirement for the design of good industrial form, the HfG stood for a direct, functional approach to the matter in hand. For this reason Ulm had no studios for painters and sculptors and no craft workshops.

In his essay "bauhaus and ulm", which is the biographical key to the essays and lectures collected here, Otl Aicher emphasizes this distinction: "at that time in ulm we had to get back to matters, to things, to products, to the street, to the everyday, to people. we had to turn round. it was not about extending art into the everyday world, for example, into application. it was about counter-art, the work of civilization, the culture of civilization."

This also shows the strong feelings of the man coming back from the war, born in 1922, for whom "coming to terms with reality" was on the agenda, and not a concern with pure aesthetics. Thus HfG was dominated by the view that art was an expression of escape from life. But above all the intention was to keep the field of product design free of artistic demands, to avoid formalism.
3

Once more the German provinces became the home of modernity and progress. As was the case with the Bauhaus in Weimar and Dessau, a middle-sized town did not merely offer the possibility of concentrated work. The restricted nature of the milieu, along with local reservations and animosity, were particular fa

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