The Genius of Design

The Genius of Design

DVD - 2010
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Every aspect of modern life is influenced by industrial design, from office chairs to apartment complexes. This fascinating series delves into the personalities and technology that shape the world's environment, economy, and culture.
Publisher: Silver Spring, MD : Distributed by Acorn Media, 2010.
ISBN: 9781598284683
Branch Call Number: DVD 745.40904/GENIUS
Characteristics: 2 videodiscs (242 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. + 1 viewer's guide (12 p.)


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Dec 31, 2017

“For industrial designers, the world is never enough."

In five episodes running 242 minutes, we meet some of the leading designers who gave us our material world. They are not engineers. They are not scientists. The Apple computer was the creation of Wozniak and Jobs, of course, but they did not give it the form we know. Their Macintosh, their iPod, Sony’s Walkman, all of the furniture in an IKEA warehouse, and even the weapons of war achieved materiality because designers thought long and hard about how real people would use these common objects.

At a time when – surprising to us, today - German goods were called cheap AEG launched what may have been the first modern rebranding. They hired Peter Behrens who created a new AEG typeface for both their advertising and their product labeling. From William Morris and the Arts and Crafts movement to Dieter Rams of Braun, from Henry Ford to Ford Motor’s J Mays, we meet the people and their works and their critics (mostly favorable).

Episode 1: Ghosts in the Machine: What distinguishes good design from bad design in a consumer product?
Episode 2: Designs for Living: To what extent is the kitchen in your home “a machine for living”
Episode 3: Blueprints for War: The British Sten gun was designed as a cheap, easy to manufacture, and ultimately disposable weapon. The German “Tiger” tank was the finest quality motorized cannon possible – and because of that, it could not be produced in sufficient numbers.
Episode 4: Better Living Through Chemistry: Plastic, for better and worse. Steve Jobs famously said, “You know a design is good when you want to lick it.”
Episode 5: Objects of Desire: How do you think the challenges of sustainability and limited disposal will affect product design in the decades ahead? Glen Olver Low calls it “Crade to Cradle.” Instead of being down-cycled, his concept of recycling returns material to the highest level of manufacturing processes.

ArapahoeAnnaL Jul 14, 2017

What do Tupperware, Airstream travel trailers, telephones, and tanks have in common? Each of these items appears in the terrific BBC documentary “The Genius of Design.” This nicely paced film places the history of design within broader political, cultural, and engineering contexts from the early 20th century through today. It's fun to view the world of everyday objects in which we are immersed from the perspective of those who create these objects.

Jun 13, 2016

Thought it was quite fascinating, but it did lapse into generalities at the oddest times. Cameo by Stephen Fry who I had no idea was that into design. His comments are very interesting.

Sep 26, 2011

This is an informative series. The program on the Bauhaus is particularly good.

Aug 14, 2011

Exceptionally interesting educational documentary: photography, narration, interviews are all top-notch. My only criticism relates to the final 10-15 minutes of the last program; it's an hurriedly assembled afterthought and doesn't measure up to the rest of the series. Highly recommended.


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