Write and illustrate a manifesto for modernist design

Write and illustrate a manifesto for modernist design

Swinburne Faculty of Design: Twentieth Century Design

Option 2: The Modernist Manifesto: the spirit of the new

Imagine you are a Modernist designer in the 1950s (This identity can be real or fictional, but you must clearly identify your Modernist design persona).

Research, write and illustrate a manifesto for Modernist design as a force of change (1700- 2000 words) explaining the theory, principles, objects and practices of International Modernist Design, for publication in Australian Home Beautiful in 1959. Your audience is the general public interested in lifestyle and design. The aim of your manifesto is to educate the general public about international developments in Modernist design, as promoted by the pioneer modernists (1919-1939) to drive change in Australia after the Depression of the 1930s and to argue why Modernist design continues to be important in the post World War 2 era of the late1940s and 1950s.

Pioneer modernists in Europe include the Italian Futurists, the Bauhaus, and the French architect Le Corbusier. In America, early modern designers include Frank Lloyd Wright, Henry Dreyfuss and Raymond Loewy. In Australia, early Modernist designers are Dahl and Geoffrey Collings, Gert Selheim, Douglas Annand, Norman Seabrook, Roy Grounds, Best Overend, and Fred Ward.

You could also include reference to mid 20th century modernists, from America, Europe or Scandinavia, including Charles and Ray Eames, Paul Rand, Dieter Rams or Arne Jacobsen. In Australia they include Robin Boyd, Harry Seidler, Douglas Annand, Grant Featherston and others. Be sure to include reference to Australian designers in your manifesto, so that readers can see examples.

In shaping your manifesto, create a voice for your designer revolutionary. Begin by introducing yourself as a designer, with a brief profile. Explain your place in the Modernist movement and why you are talking to an Australian audience.

When researching look at the manifestoes of early Modernist design groups such as the Italian Futurists, the Bauhaus, the Russians Constructivists, and De Stijl – look at how they are written, how they call for social reform, and their reasons why the world should change to create the spirit of the new and embrace the machine age. Consider what principles and practices they promote.

In your manifesto include an explanation of Modernist Design ideals developed in Europe and America, such as:

Social reform
Form follows function
Anti-historicism
Simplicity
Truth to materials
New materials and production technologies
Explain why they are relevant to Australia and ideally suited for a modern Australian way of life.

Include examples from the categories below to support your explanations:

Leading modernist designers and their theories: European, American and Australian
Design practice: architecture, interior design, industrial, furniture, graphics, fashion, photography
Modernist design objects: films, cinemas, skyscrapers, schools, the modern home, the modern kitchen, department stores, furniture, lighting, cars, aeroplanes, books, magazines, posters, advertising, fashion, etc.
Advances in materials and technologies: moulded plywood, plastics, colour photography, reinforced concrete, steel, glass, etc.
Suggestions for your manifesto theme and title include:

Form follows function: easy comfort for the modern Australian home-interiors, furniture and product design
New architecture for a contemporary lifestyle: new materials, technologies and forms
Designing the future: the aesthetics of Modernism -new graphic design for the modern home magazine
Modern transport and the shape of the future: cars, trains and planes.
Consider the language of your manifesto and write in a strong way to educate, inform and persuade your reader. Be sure to situate your article in its historical context of 1959.

Assignment Files – https://www.dropbox.com/s/7ngsbky2fovisau/Assignment%20File.zip?dl=0

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