Cranbrook Design: The New Discourse

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Cranbrook Design: The New Discourse

Hugh Aldersey-Williams, Lorraine Wild, Daralice Boles, Katherine McCoy, Michael McCoy, Roy Slade, Niels Diffrient

The Department of Design at the Cranbrook Academy of Art has been the starting point for many of the most respected and influential names in American design. In the period form 1980 to 1990, the work of the department's students, designers-in-residence Katherine and Michael McCoy, and alumni, in graphic, product, furniture, and interior design, has challenged the accepted notions of what design can accomplish. An overview of this decade of innovative design is provided in this book.

The latest generation of Cranbook-trained designers is part of the great tradition of American designers who have been associated with the historic Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, campus. Eliel Saarinen, Charles and Ray Eames, Jack Lenor Larsen, Florence Knoll and many others who have contributed to the American design phenomenon are Cranbrook alumni.

But the new Cranbrook design is anything but tradition. The late 20th century Cranbrook was known as an experimental laboratory of cutting-edge design ideas. Especially important is the work labeled 'interpretive design,' the creation of technological products, graphic works, interiors, and furniture pieces that communicate their place in the culture, their nature, and their use via their metaphorical forms. Much of the work of the time has been a challenge to the mute or neutral Modern design aesthetic that eliminates any reference to the life around a design. these are designs that celebrates life's diversity, that bring technology out of its black box, and that engage the audience's interpretative powers and participation.

Here one can see posters that engage the reader in a kind of dialogue, office designs that celebrate the work that takes place within them, household appliances that support the daily routine of life, and furniture designs that animate an interior environment.


This book is available for purchase.