Material culture, luxury, and the avant-garde
Author: Ory Bartal

This book tells the story of critical avant-garde design in Japan, which emerged during the tumultuous 1960s and continues to inspire contemporary designers today. The postwar avant-garde milieu gave rise to a ground-breaking popular visual language and garnered tremendous attention across the fields of product design, graphic design, fashion design, and architecture. It created conceptually challenging artefacts and made decisions that radically altered the course of Japanese design history. The avant-garde works that were created in the sphere of popular culture communicated a form of visual and material protest inspired by the ideologies and critical theories of the 1960s and 1970s, which were concerned with feminism, body politics, the politics of identity, and, later, ecological, anti-consumerist, and anti-institutional critiques as well as an emphasis on otherness. These designers were driven by passion, anger, and a desire to critique and change society and introduce the avant-garde political thinking of the 1960s and subversive visual and material practices into the heart of consumer culture starting from the 1980s. Their creations thus combined two seemingly contradictory concepts: luxury and the avant-garde. By presenting the new arena of avant-garde Japanese design that is operating as a critical sociopolitical agent and involves an encounter between popular culture, postmodern aesthetics, critical theory, and new economic rules, the book carries the common discourse on Japanese design beyond aesthetic concerns and especially beyond ‘beautiful’ or ‘sublime’, revealing the radical aesthetic of the designed objects that forms an interface leading to critical social protest.

Ory Bartal

6 Digital design as social and critical design in the twenty-first century In the second decade of the twenty-first century, it seems that the social struggles of the late 1960s and early 1970s, which were subsequently formulated as critical theories, continue to play a central role in our lives. Some of the designers that adopted the practice of critical design, such as Rei Kawakubo, who focuses on body politics and identity politics, or Mujirushi Ryohin, which challenges the dominance of brand names over the product in late consumer culture, are still active

in Critical design in Japan
The work of Ishioka Eiko and Suzuki Hachirō
Ory Bartal

2 The 1968 social uprising and subversive advertising design in Japan: the work of Ishioka Eiko and Suzuki Hachirō The economic miracle of the 1960s gave a boost to the commercial advertising and graphic design industry, leading to what can be considered the first golden age of graphic design and advertising in postwar Japan.1 At the beginning of the decade, advertisements were heavily influenced by the International Style of the 1950s. However, the atmosphere changed after the 1965 exhibition of Belle Époque posters curated by the collector Katsumie Masaru

in Critical design in Japan
Ory Bartal

1 Postmodern critiques, Japan’s economic miracle, and the new aesthetic milieu The social revolution that erupted in 1968 led a number of avant-garde designers and architects working in the early 1970s to take decisions that radically reshaped the course of Japanese design history. Working in Tokyo, the graphic designers Ishioka Eiko and Tanaka Ikkō, the fashion designers Issey Miyake and Rei Kawakubo, the interior and product designers Kuramata Shirō and Uchida Shigeru, and the architects Andō Tadao and Isozaki Arata, among others, all contributed to the

in Critical design in Japan
Abstract only
Ory Bartal

demonstrators who opposed and challenged Japan’s political actions, bringing the country to the verge of a civil revolution. The tension between these two opposing forces – economic growth based on capitalist ideals, and social protest rooted in the ideology of left-wing movements – was felt throughout the 1960s. This tension constituted one of the forces underlying the radical transformation of Japanese aesthetics and visual culture, and more specifically of Japanese design. Renowned throughout history for its distinct aesthetic properties, Japanese design was transformed

in Critical design in Japan
Ory Bartal

5 Hironen and the representation of the other The objects designed in Japan between 1987 and 1995 by the designer duo Ronen Levin and Ōkawa Hiroyuki under the brand name Hironen sometimes look like a surrealist hallucination. Each of the objects is one of a kind, and they are presented in theatrical phantasmagorical scenes replete with all the objects needed for the total design of a space: armchairs, sofas, tables, chests of drawers, lamps, carpets, paintings, decorative artefacts, tableware, and even jewellery. Each of the objects demonstrates radical

in Critical design in Japan
Chris Abel

9 Combinatorial design Following on from the preceding explication of technical memes and their assemblages and their role as cardinal agents of cognitive extension and embodiment, the inquiry now turns to exploring evidence of corresponding processes in the design and evolution of buildings and settlements in various periods and cultures, and, not least, in the process of innovation itself. In Chapter 6, Kate Distin’s borrowed theory of engineering design was presented as an idealized, ‘solution-neutral’ model of design with evolutionary characteristics, based

in The extended self
Owen Price and Karina Lovell

Chapter 3: Quantitative research design Owen Price and Karina Lovell Chapter overview Quantitative research uses large samples and, as such, the findings of well-conducted studies can often be generalised to larger populations. However, it is important that studies are well-designed to avoid errors in their interpretation and/or the reporting of inaccurate results. Misleading results from quantitative studies can have serious negative implications such as wasting public money on flawed policies and subjecting service users to ineffective or harmful treatments

in A research handbook for patient and public involvement researchers
Yulia Karpova

4 From objects to design programmes Just as neodecorativism was generating the idea of a spiritually useful object, its leading proponent, Boris Smirnov, published his succinct Artist on the Nature of Things.1 Its title alludes to the first-century BCE poem De rerum natura by the Roman poet and philosopher Lucretius. In the book Smirnov discussed the traditions, techniques and symbolic meanings of the design of consumer objects. In essence, it was a work of professional self-reflection. Smirnov paid special attention to the emergence of a new object, which he

in Comradely objects
Ory Bartal

elaborate packaging that was common in Japan – an initiative that was both economic and ecological. In the wake of the exceptional success of the product line, Mujirushi Ryohin evolved into an independent company within the Seibu Group. Today, Mujirushi Ryohin stores offer some 7,500 products (from stationery to household items, electrical appliances to bicycles, clothes to food, furniture and kitchenware to outdoor products), all designed with a functional starkness in natural colours, devoid of ‘splash’ and decorative values, and eschewing unnecessary patterns and

in Critical design in Japan