Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Day 329, on which John finally gets to hear his beloved Jacobsen [24.11.10]

Dag tre hundrede niogtyve. Well, today I found (at long last) the website for the Danish designer distributors, Fritz Hansen. They distribute most of the best Danish furniture, from Kjærholm to Henningsen and even my favouritest designer of all time ever ever ever ever ever, Arne 'He da man' Jacobsen. In fact, if you visit this page on the Fritz Hansen site, you will be able to watch video about his work. The video entitled 'Arne Jacobsen - Selected works' even includes a bunch of old video clips of Jacobsen, him talking about his architecture and design. It's good to put a voice to a face.

Jacobsen (left) with client (right)
Plus, there's this fantastic clip of Jacobsen talking to a client, poring over designs, as people fit out the modernist house around them, and they're both standing there puffing away on their massive pipes. Haha, I guess it was normal back then but it's funny to see him there with his pipe as per usual. Did he ever not have it on him?

Well, it turns out I lost that design competition I was so bent on winning last week. The winning team had a full working prototype, two in fact, and their product was super-sustainable. They may as well have renamed it 'sustainable product' because that's all it was about. So I lost out to a sustainable product. SO my product wasn't as sustainable as theirs. Yes, I'm not going to say I wasn't annoyed, for I was. But what can I do about it? Nothing. Just sit there, smile, say well done, and suppose that if the entire competition is focused on finding the most sustainable product, it wasn't really designed for me. What with my utter hatred of all things sustainable and that.

Even still, I'd hoped that good design would shine out over products that are good just because they're a neat idea. I guess not. It seems that not even my mentioning of Jacobsen and his elegant work with Danmarks Nationalbank won them over. Not even showing them I know my design history. Showing them I know where design's coming from, and by heck do I respect it. In fact, I much prefer some of the 40s and 50s modernist designs than some of the gimmicky crap that eco-designers turn out today. The world's bent on being eco-friendly, and it's killing design. Every now and then, there's a good 21st century design I see and I like. For example, Maarten van Severen's furniture never ceases to impress me with its simplicity and flat texture. But sometimes I wish we had the Eameses back. Or Jacobsen somehow overcame his no doubt charcoaled lungs and excessive eating and didn't die in 1972. Or if Gerrit Rietveld just happened to design another few chairs like the Red and Blue chair. But sadly they didn't. So perhaps we should keep looking forwards and hope that some more great designers come our way.

Hope.

~John

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