Furniture Design, Classic Design and the Key is Simplicity?

Classic Design Core Unit 6  is still one of my favourite new elements within the current syllabus. I am sure as syllabus review starts again that many things may change, but I do hope this core unit does stay as it opens up so many opportunities to inspire students. If we look at the six elements that may produce a classic design as teachers, we can find examples both old and new that are classics beyond that of the iPhone and Reitveld chair. Below are some more resources that give some ideas and links to a classic interview with Dieter Rams.

Simplicity was led by the designs of  Mies Van De Rohe whose designs could be considered classic? So a great question to ask is why the following are or are not classic designs:

Obviously using the terms Image, Status and culture, Obsolescence, Mass Production, Ubiquitous and Dominant design will help students. But it is also important to ask what other reasons may make a design a classic, and is this a classic locally or internationally?

Dieter Rams often used within our classrooms when talking about designs and especially design classics, has been involved in an excellent set of interviews last year which really exemplify some of the ideas behind classic design. As a teacher I often use quotations from ‘famous designers’ to raise debate and discussion within my Design and technology classroom. Here is one from Dieter:

‘The only plausible way forward is the less-but-better way: back to purity, back to simplicity,’ he added. ‘Simplicity is the key to excellence!’

Finally I found this an interesting article to share with students about how classic designs have become so ubiquitous within the modern western home that we as human beings have an emotional attachment to them, which is an interesting concept in itself that we have an emotional attachment to a mass produced item? But how could you not love having the Eames chair or the Noguchi coffee table in your house? Again an interesting discussion to have with students: what would be placed in their house as classic designs would it be different?

Noguchi Coffee table: a classic in your home?
Source: Expandinglight5, via Wikimedia Commons

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