International Design Yearbook 17 by Ross LovegroveInternational Design Yearbook 17 by Ross Lovegrove

International Design Yearbook 17

byRoss Lovegrove

Hardcover | April 1, 2002

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Covering the best and most innovative furniture, lighting, tableware, textiles, and products created over the past 18 months by both well-known designers and new names from around the world, this year's striking selections has been made by internationally acclaimed designer Ross Lovegrove.

Because the unique qualities of certain materials greatly impact the conception and design of any object, International Design Yearbook 17 has taken a fresh approach and organized items by the material used: metals, glass, textiles, plastics, and paper/wood/ceramics. The objects are lavishly illustrated, and full technical data is given for each. This who's who of domestic design features the vibrant new talent of Anna Pamintuan and Paolo Ulian, as well as remarkable work by Campana Brothers, Hishinuma, and Karim Rashid. A comprehensive reference section provides biographies of all included designers and a list of suppliers and their addresses.
Ross Lovegrove co-founded Lovegrove Studio X, whose prestigious clients have included Louis Vuitton, Tag Heuer, Philips, Sony, and Apple. He is also visiting lecturer at the Royal College of Art in London.
Title:International Design Yearbook 17Format:HardcoverDimensions:224 pages, 11.38 × 9.25 × 1.04 inPublished:April 1, 2002Publisher:Abbeville Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0789207540

ISBN - 13:9780789207548

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Read from the Book

ORGANIC ESSENTIALISM To anyone who is a regular reader of the International Design Yearbook it will be apparent that a fresh wind of change has swept through the 2002 edition. Upon the suggestion of this year’s guest editor, the celebrated industrial designer Ross Lovegrove, the normal product categories have been discarded in favor of five material groupings: metals; glass; textiles; wood and plastics. The primary reason for this is that Lovegrove is first and foremost a materials-led designer who throughout his career has been utterly galvanized by the form-inspiring and often poetic qualities of materials of all different types. It was, therefore, only natural for him to think in terms of materials rather than typologies when it came to categorizing his selection of the previous year’s most interesting products. Certainly, his choices and layout help focus attention on the aesthetic, functional and technical potential of both new and familiar materials and their innovative application to designed products today. To better understand the rationale behind the 2002 selection, it is useful to consider the philosophy that underlies Lovegrove’s own work. Over the last decade he has single-handedly pioneered a very distinct approach to design that can be best defined as ‘organic essentialism’. To this end, Lovegrove skillfully marries sculptural forms inspired by ergonomics and elements from the natural world (from dinosaur bones to the ribbed structure of a cactus) to a concern for the logical arrangement of only those elements that are absolutely necessary for the accomplish,met of a particular purpose. His designs are both anthropocentric and logical, and not only reflect a new naturalism of form that is based fundamentally on the concept of getting the most from the least but exemplify the direction design should be taking for the twenty-first century. Unlike many minimalist designs, which more often than not are style-led and suffer from a rather insipid anorexic quality, Lovegrove’s designs are lean yet as shapely as a well-toned body, the innovative and sensually seductive forms lend his products a definable character that in turn gives his clients what they are really looking for – ‘distributive uniqueness’ – a means by which their products can be strongly differentiated from those by other designers and manufacturers. Lovegrove’s clients can be roughly divided into two camps: those like Tag Heuer who require pure industrial design that can be mass-produced in large numbers and those like Edra who want something more experimental and poetic that can be sold as exclusive limited editions. By working within both the industrial and ‘art’ design worlds, Lovegrove is able on the one hand to bring craft sensibilities to those products destined for mass manufacture, while on the other to allow industrial know-how to inform his craft-based design. A few of his clients employ a pick-and-mix approach to their selection of designers and engage Lovegrove as a high-profile representative of so-called ‘organic design’. As some manufacturers have found, Ross Lovegrove is not always the easiest designer to work with, just because he is always wanting to push the boat out just that little bit further – whether it be the development of new materials application, a novel method of production or the subversion of preconceptions about formal and functional attributes of certain typologies. As he put i, he likes ‘to screw around with the potential of perception and colors, while exploring a depth of significance’. In short, while Lovegrove takes the role of design very seriously, he is willing to take risks and expects others to do the same. After all, how else is meaningful progress to be made? The manufacturers who are able to place their wholehearted faith and trust in Lovegrove often end up with revolutionary products that have a logical clarity of form and a strong physical magneticism – for example, the ‘Go’ chair for Bernhardt, which possesses both remarkable strength and lightness and is the first chair to be mass-produced in injection-moulded magnesium. When Lovegrove connects with a manufacturer who fully commits to his vision, the results can be almost alchemic as well as deeply satisfying to the senses. It can, however, often take a huge effort and a certain amount of frustration to reach this goal as Lovegrove categorically refuses to compromise on production values and, ultimately, quality. It is this aspect of his personality, however, that ensures that his products remain distinct from all others. From kitchen utensils and cutlery to furniture and lighting, Lovegrove’s designs are also notable for their exquisite detailing – the way they fit so comfortably in the hand or delight the eye with their subtle gestural lines.Lovegrove is probably one of the most gifted draftsmen in the design industry today, and his constant sketching allows him to refine his ideas and vision to a very high degree before they are worked up by his studio assistants into three-dimensional computer images or resin stereolithography models. Indeed, watching him sketch with such rapid fluidity, it can seem as if he has his own ‘superhighway’ connecting his brain to his hand. This remarkable ability, which he uses methodologically, enables him to efficiently conceptualize and develop connections of many different types. Indeed, it could be said that Lovegrove earns his living foremost by making innovative and completely unexpected connections between objects, materials, functions and people. Like sculptures by Henry Moore or Isamu Noguchi, Lovegrove’s designs reflect something of the abstract essence of nature and possess an engaging tactility that invites physical interaction. His work has a remarkable sensitivity born of a deep respect (or hari as it is known in Japan) for the materials with which he works. As he succinctly explains, ‘Designers must value the materials that they work with as precious resources whether they are natural or synthetic.’ Through his work, he tries to emulate the quiet nobility or ‘silent culture’ of Japanese design and attempts to express an inherent material honesty. Love grove’s search for the elusive poetry of Japanese design – the soul of an object, or as he puts it, ‘the Kuramata presence’ – is powerfully reflected in the sculptural values and refined detailing of his work. He reveres the ability of Japanese culture to synthesize the old with the new and is fully aware of the powerful synergy that is created when the traditional meets the contemporary head on. A powerful example of this is Tokujin Yoshioka’s house on the outskirts of Tokyo, where modern industrial materials dramatically contrast with the age-old structure of a traditional Japanese building. Lovegrove is constantly searching for state-of-the-art materials that will enable him to ‘find the sculptural line of things that exist in the natural world’. He takes an almost childlike delight in the properties of new synthetic materials, from foamed aluminum to Kevlar, often repeating the word ‘amazing’ in his sheer wonder at the formal and structural potential these materials offer him. As he handles materials like these, his imagination runs wild with ‘what its’ – this being the seed from which truly innovative and remarkable material applications very often evolve. He is equally captivated by and enthusiastic about advanced production technologies that will allow him to bring a freshness of ideas and real improvement to his design solutions. Against this fascination with synthetic materials and cutting-edge industrial processes, Lovegrove also has a great love of natural materials such as bamboo and wood, as well as age-old craft skills, from wickerwork to lacquer. Frequently, these traditional materials and ancient manufacturing techniques inform his work and stimulate elegant contemporary applications. Above all else it is the forms and structures found in the natural world that inspire Lovegrove. The shape of his new plastic water bottle for Ty Nant, for example, was informed by his investigations into the flow patterns that occur when water is poured. Often when he is giving a presentation, he will intersperse images of his design work with images of the natural forms that inspired them, from jellyfish and plant leaves to blood cells. As he has observed, ‘There is an absolute beauty in organic forms that stimulate deeply within the subconscious. I am moved by the honesty and richness of such forms which celebrate the three-dimensional effect of our living in harmony with space.’ Lovegrove’s innate pantheism has bred a strong dislike of materialistic decadence – he abhors the irresponsible use of precious resources and distrusts anything that fuels functional and stylistic obsolescence and the needless production of waste. At the same time, he promotes the notion of product durability – functional and aesthetic longevity – because by making things last longer their net environmental impact can be radically reduced. Some of Lovegrove’s work can be seen as evolutionary reworking of well-known design classics that have stood the test of time, such as Arne Jacobsen’s famous ‘3107’ chair. These are neither homages to the past nor a bid to jump on the retro bandwagon, but earnest attempts at reinterpreting ideal forms within a contemporary industrial and material context. Whether a design is mass-produced or a one-off, Lovegrove seeks to unify art and design through solutions that are preferably process-driven. The selection of work chosen by Lovegrove on the following pages reveals not only a highly positive belief in the future but also an exacting eye that is stimulated by the pioneering use of new forms, functions, materials and production techniques. He is similarly excited by the intellectual and physical bringing together of seemingly disparate materials, from wood and carbon fibre to plastics and bamboo, for such contrasts often emphasize more dramatically the materials’ intrinsic qualities. This year’s choice of designs also demonstrates Lovegrove’s interest in the continuing cross-pollination of disciplines and his belief that craft-based and industrially produced designs have equal validity. Above all, it is innovation that has been the decisive factor in determining what products should be included in this annual survey of design. It would seem that innovation and experimentation most often emerge from the craft workshop rather than the industrialized factory, from the search for individualistic rather than universal solutions. As Lovegrove acknowledges, ‘craft is the melting pot into which industry gazes’. There appears in today’s society a place as much for craft-based low-tech individualistic solutions as for mass-produced hi-tech universally appealing solutions &ndsah; the two worlds of design can live in harmony, learning from and thriving off one another. Since the beginning of civilization materials have shaped our cultural identity &ndsah; from the Stone Age to the Iron Age to the Plastics Age. In the future, ‘to-die-for’ strong yet super-lightweight metal alloys such as nickel-titanium and aluminum-magnesium will allow designs to get more mileage out of less material use thereby minimizing the mass of objects. The perpetual development of advanced composite materials will also increasingly offer new design potential as they meld surface with structure. So-called ‘techno’ polymers will similarly promote new ways of making things, while existing technologies such as rotational moulding and gas-injection moulding will be refined as as to provide yet more efficient and inexpensive ways of producing objects in plastics. The materials and technologies of the future, many of which are represented in Yearbook , will ultimately enable designers on the one hand to create a more individualist and expressive language of design, while on the other hand allow them to develop better performing, more anthropocentric universal solutions. As has been repeatedly demonstrated throughout modern history, ultra-advanced ‘futuristic’ materials inevitably find innovative product applications that push the formal, functional and aesthetic parameters of design to new and extraordinary limits. This year’s Lovegrove selection offers an inspirational and well-informed taste of what is to come…enjoy!

Table of Contents

Peter and Charlotte Fiell

Ross Lovegrove








Photographic credits

Editorial Reviews

"An exemplary series of product design annuals. The photography and graphic presentation are excellent." —Interior Design