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Author: John Potvin

Richly illustrated with over 110 colour and black and white images, the book productively contests the supposedly exclusive feminine aspect of the style moderne (art deco). It explores how alternative, parallel and overlapping experiences and expressions of decorative modernism, nationalism, gender and sexuality in the heady years surrounding World War I converge in the protean figure of the deco dandy. As such, the book significantly departs from and corrects the assumptions and biases that have dominated scholarship on and popular perceptions of art deco. The book outlines how designed products and representations of and for the dandy both existed within and outwith normative expectations of gender and sexuality complicating men’s relationship to consumer culture more broadly and the moderne more specifically. Through a sustained focus on the figure of the dandy, the book offers a broader view of art deco by claiming a greater place for the male body and masculinity in this history than has been given to date. The mass appeal of the dandy in the 1920s was a way to redeploy an iconic, popular and well-known typology as a means to stimulate national industries, to engender a desire for all things made in France. Important, essential and productive moments in the history of the cultural life of Paris presented in the book are instructive of the changing role performed by consumerism, masculinity, design history and national identity.

Open Access (free)
Governing Precarity through Adaptive Design
Mark Duffield

, J. and Minto , V. (eds), Proceedings of the 2008 Annual International Conference of the Design History Society , Falmouth , 3–6 September 2009 ( ebook : Universal Publishers ), pp. 2 – 10 . Latour , B. , Jensen , P. , Venturini , T. , Grauwn , S. and Boullier , D. ( 2012 ), ‘ “The Whole Is Always Smaller than Its Parts” – A Digital Test of Gabriel Tarde’s Monads ’, British Journal of Sociology , 63 : 4 , 590 – 615 . Lavinas , L

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
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Material culture and tangible labour

With the increasing digitisation of almost every facet of human endeavour, concerns persist about ‘deskilling’ and precarious employment. The publishing industry has turned its energy to online and electronic media, and jobs continue to disappear from printing, publishing and journalism. The replacement of human labour with computerised technologies is not merely a contemporary issue; it has an established history dating from the mid-twentieth century. What is often missing from this record is an understanding of how the world of work is tightly interwoven with the tangible and affective worlds of material culture and design, even in ‘clean’ computerised environments. Workplace culture is not only made up of socio-political relationships and dynamics. It is also bound up with a world of things, with and through which the social and gendered processes of workplace life are enacted and experienced. Understanding how we interact with and interpret design is crucial for appreciating the complexities of the labour experience, particularly at times of technological disruption. Hot Metal reveals integral labour-design relationships through an examination of three decades in the printing industry, between the 1960s and 1980s. This was the period when hot-metal typesetting and letterpress was in decline; the early years of the ‘digital switch’. Using oral histories from an intriguing case-study – a doggedly traditional Government Printing Office in Australia – this book provides an evocative rendering of design culture and embodied practice in a context that was, like many workplaces, not quite ‘up-to-date’ with technology. Hot Metal is also history of how digital technologies ruptured and transformed working life in manufacturing. Rather than focusing solely on ‘official’ labour, this book will introduce the reader to workers’ clandestine creative practices; the making of things ‘on the side’.

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London’s street markets and the cultures of informality, c. 1850–1939
Author: Victoria Kelley

Cheap Street tells the history of London’s street markets and of the people who bought and sold in them. From the 1850s anything that could be bought in a shop in London could also be bought in the street markets, which were the butcher, baker, greengrocer, provision merchant, haberdasher, tailor and furnisher of the working-class city. They sat uncomfortably on the edge of the law, barely tolerated by authorities that did not quite know whether to admire them for their efficient circulation of goods, or to despise them for their unregulated and ‘low’ character. They were the first recourse of immigrants looking to earn a living, and of privileged observers seeking a voyeuristic glimpse of street life. London’s street markets have frequently been overlooked, viewed as anomalous among the sophisticated consumer institutions of the modern city, the department stores and West End shops. Cheap Street shows how the street markets, as an emanation of the informal economy that flourishes in the interstices of urban life, adapted nimbly to urban growth and contributed to consumer modernity, and how in doing so, they propagated myths about what it meant to live in London and be a Londoner. The book analyses the street markets through their legal and economic informality, material culture, sensory affects and performative character, using varied documentary and visual evidence. It reshapes the interpretation of London’s urban geographies and consumer cultures, offering new insights into London’s history.

The visual culture of a new profession
Author: Anca I. Lasc

This book analyzes the early stages of the interior design profession as articulated within the circles involved in the decoration of the private home in the second half of nineteenth-century France. It argues that the increased presence of the modern, domestic interior in the visual culture of the nineteenth century enabled the profession to take shape. Upholsterers, cabinet-makers, architects, stage designers, department stores, taste advisors, collectors, and illustrators, came together to “sell” the idea of the unified interior as an image and a total work of art. The ideal domestic interior took several media as its outlet, including taste manuals, pattern books, illustrated magazines, art and architectural exhibitions, and department store catalogs.

The chapters outline the terms of reception within which the work of each professional group involved in the appearance and design of the nineteenth-century French domestic interior emerged and focus on specific works by members of each group. If Chapter 1 concentrates on collectors and taste advisors, outlining the new definitions of the modern interior they developed, Chapter 2 focuses on the response of upholsterers, architects, and cabinet-makers to the same new conceptions of the ideal private interior. Chapter 3 considers the contribution of the world of entertainment to the field of interior design while Chapter 4 moves into the world of commerce to study how department stores popularized the modern interior with the middle classes. Chapter 5 returns to architects to understand how their engagement with popular journals shaped new interior decorating styles.

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
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.

Open Access (free)
Design and material culture in Soviet Russia, 1960s–80s
Author: Yulia Karpova

The major part of this book project was funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 700913.

This book is about two distinct but related professional cultures in late Soviet Russia that were concerned with material objects: industrial design and decorative art. The Russian avant-garde of the 1920s is broadly recognised to have been Russia’s first truly original contribution to world culture. In contrast, Soviet design of the post-war period is often dismissed as hackwork and plagiarism that resulted in a shabby world of commodities. This book identifies the second historical attempt at creating a powerful alternative to capitalist commodities in the Cold War era. It offers a new perspective on the history of Soviet material culture by focusing on the notion of the ‘comradely object’ as an agent of progressive social relations that state-sponsored Soviet design inherited from the avant-garde. It introduces a shared history of domestic objects, handmade as well as machine-made, mass-produced as well as unique, utilitarian as well as challenging the conventional notion of utility. Situated at the intersection of intellectual history, social history and material culture studies, this book elucidates the complexities and contradictions of Soviet design that echoed international tendencies of the late twentieth century. The book is addressed to design historians, art historians, scholars of material culture, historians of Russia and the USSR, as well as museum and gallery curators, artists and designers, and the broader public interested in modern aesthetics, art and design, and/or the legacy of socialist regimes.

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Anca I. Lasc

Nineteenth­-century Domestic Interior are among recent titles.29 Concomitantly, scholars have analyzed domestic interiors as two-dimensional representations on paper in two special issues of the Journal of Design History (“Studying Advice: Historiography, Methodology, Commentary, Bibliography,” edited by Grace Lees-Maffei in 2003, and “Publishing the Modern Home: Magazines and Interiors 1870–1965,” edited by Jeremy Aynsley and Francesca Berry in 2005) and in one special issue of Interiors: Design, Architecture Culture (“Seductive Discourses: Design Advice for the Home

in Interior decorating in nineteenth-century France
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Activism and design in Italy
Author: Ilaria Vanni

Precarious objects is a book about activism and design. The context is the changes in work and employment from permanent to precarious arrangements in the twenty-first century in Italy. The book presents design interventions that address precarity as a defuturing force affecting political, social and material conditions. Precarious objects shows how design objects, called here ‘orientation devices’, recode political communication and reorient how things are imagined, produced and circulated. It also shows how design as a practice can reconfigure material conditions and prefigure ways to repair some of the effects of precarity on everyday life. Three microhistories illustrate activist repertoires that bring into play design, and design practices that are grounded in activism. While the vitality, experimental nature and traffic between theory and praxis of social movements in Italy have consistently attracted the interest of activists, students and researchers in diverse fields, there exists little in the area of design research. This is a study of design activism at the intersection of design theory and cultural research for researchers and students interested in design studies, cultural studies, social movements and Italian studies.