Hello from a unique corner of the design world! Today, I’d like to take you on a journey through time, starting with the legendary works of Arne Jacobsen and a little chat about the intricacies of modern design.

Let’s start with the EGG Chair, designed by Jacobsen for the Radisson SAS Royal Hotel in 1954.

Although it is a visually very impressive product, I don’t know if I should say that it is a seat that I did not find comfortable. When I think of comfort, I think of Hyyge (Danish) or Lagom (Swedish), words that were very popular at the time. I think these words, which I think generally mean “Emotional Comfort”, mean that some products that are good for the person, but maybe have drawbacks in terms of use, can provide a kind of comfort even if they are not ergonomically correct. I think EGG must be such a product, if I can explain it. Prestige!

Similarly, the “Cutlery Set” designed for the SAS Royal Hotel is also very difficult to interpret. The fact that it is still being produced and sold may have more to do with the success of the marketing than the success of the product. I mean! I think so! It seems to be the best approach to evaluate according to time… I. and II. World Wars. New thoughts, movements, essays…

If we take a look at Jacobsen’s life, his story of hardship and emigration during World War II may have given his designs a different perspective. During the war, he was forced to emigrate to Sweden due to anti-Semitism in Denmark, where he and his wife Jonna designed textiles and wallpaper.

But this is Esat C. BAŞAK…

It may be because A. Jocopsen is not a product designer in the real sense, but he focuses on site-specific works, which is not really my area of interest. Why did I start here? Because it is the best known…
Let me write about the roots of Scandinavian design, as amateurishly as I know how. I would probably fall short in terms of providing references for the information, but everything is available on the internet anyway.

In short, if we were to take an amateurish journey into design, or rather the origins of modern design, our starting point might be the Arts and Crafts Movement in England.

But in fact, if we go back even further and say hello, it would not be possible, for me, to get out of it. Let me continue by touching the oldest known piece of furniture;

This table skeleton, on display at the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, is recorded as one of the oldest known pieces of furniture. I don’t know if it’s the right thing to start with the Arts & Crafts Movement, but it’s easy… When you go backwards from there, the subject gets a little deeper and gets a little scattered. Moreover, it is not possible to understand and define the transitions between each other unless you are an expert.

Classical, Romantic, Neoclassical, Rococo, Art Nouve… Those with a certain cultural background do not look well at these designs, which continue today with transitions between them, probably because they do not know them. However, as you learn the historical reasons for each movement and realize the fine, elegant details in the furniture, they are all beautiful. But there are such bad examples that we are right not to like them;

I prefer to give a very brief history, but before I skip Arts &Crafts, I wanted to write very superficially what it emerged as a reaction to. The Industrial Revolution…

I’m not going to go into the harnessing of the power of steam, the social impact of the sewing machine, etc. Our main topic is furniture.

In this sense, let me give you information about the first furniture catalog. All subjects are intertwined… With the industrial revolution, thanks to the development of the printing press and all kinds of production techniques, Thomas Chippendale printed the first known furniture catalog in history, paving the way for his customers to place orders through catalog selections, and he also found the money. But Jr. T. Chippendale, his son, if I remember correctly, went bankrupt soon after.

The year 1754. And then we say IKEA (1950) revolutionized. Ha but! His revolution is a different matter, though; There is no point in discussing the success story.
In short, let’s get back to the subject, how beautifully Salah Birsel would have put it into words, but when I write it, it becomes dry, dry information. Anyway, let me continue as it is.

I would like to share my thoughts on the philosophy of William Morris, the pioneer of the Arts & Crafts Movement. Morris (1834-1896), thanks to his hardworking and productive personality, argued, even if only for a short time, that the industrial revolution and mass production would bring harm, not benefit, to society;

The first time I read it I said, “What does he mean?” The worst part is that I didn’t remember it verbatim, and I glanced left and right, I think it was this; “Nothing should be made by man’s labor which is not worth making, or which must be made by labor degrading to the makers.”

“Whatever is made by human labor must either be worth doing, or it must not be made by labor that devalues the producer.”
Basically, he says that only the first piece of furniture should be finished perfectly, sanded, polished, etc., and that you should not spend so much effort and material on other products that are produced as a continuation of a piece. I think…

That’s what I’ve been thinking ever since; So that “first” piece is the original and what the designer had in mind… The others are just copies of it, so they only need to refer to it. As far as I’m concerned, it is; Or let the end user labor for the better, sanding, polishing, etc. As long as the product comes from a solid foundation in every sense.

On the other hand, the famous Charles Eames, in an interview about one of his most iconic designs, the Lounger Chair (the contributions of his wife and partner Ray are said to have been overlooked at the time…), I think it’s true again, but he approached the subject from a different angle; “I don’t really care if the product is a copy or not, as long as the details, the materials are exactly the same.”

The giant companies that own the design and production rights do not think so. Discussing their thoughts could also be a good topic for the future.

In the end, we jump from a short summary-like introduction to the current designs and stay there.

Peeh! It’s only the 1900s… Things have changed a lot…

In short, W. Morris and his friends, as a reaction to industrialization, argued that an understanding that emphasized hand-craftsmanship, but that the people doing this work should work in such a way that they would not be separated from the pleasure of the work, the use of natural materials, durability and simplicity was more accurate, but it seems that they were in vain…

Although when I look at the works of W. Morris, who designed motifs especially for textiles, I say, “Hmm, so this was considered a simple approach at that time!”

Beautiful actually…

Too much for me… 🙂

All in all, it seems that the world of design will always remain an exciting and controversial field. Understanding the stories and philosophies behind each work offers a delightful journey into the depths of this world.
The Art Nouveau and Art Deco influences, which are wonderful examples of this Arts and Crafts Movement that emerged simultaneously or immediately after it, have left a deep mark on the design world. In the next post, we’ll take a closer look at the details of these influential movements and their legacy for contemporary design. Discovering these important milestones in the history of design will be a journey full of inspiration.

Stay tuned!

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