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12 OCTOBER 2014

The Ulm School: designing the system rather than the object

"The Ulm School of Design was founded in 1953 by Inge Aicher–Scholl, Otl Aicher and Max Bill, with the main task of incorporate design into industry and to shape our material culture. In the post–war years, the process was marked by a crisis of values and resources, and this fact drove the Ulm School to re–think the meaning of creating forms in the contemporary world and to democratize the access to design. The exhibition explores the concept of 'system', related with a set of rationally components capable of generating an object, and also the systematic approach of the school, which included for the first time, the integration of science and art.

The importance of the Ulm School in the history of design comes from the strict methodology they imposed on project development. Focusing on an inter–disciplinary work and objective design analysis, it rejected design as an artistic activity and spread through industry to all walks of life. The school was recognized worldwide for its approach of focusing on the design of the system rather than the object."

(Ethel Baraona Pohl, 13 February 2012, Domus Magazine)

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TAGS

1953 • 1972 Munich Olympics • access to design • Bilbao metro • Braun KM2 Multiwerk • communication analysis • communication problems • communication systems • construction systems • contemporary world • Design Hub Barcelona • design methodologydesign of the system rather than the objectDieter Rams • domestic products • Domus (magazine) • elementary objects • flexible products • furniture systems • Hans Gugelot • Hans Roericht • Herbert Lindinger • Inge Aicher-Scholl • integration of science and art • interchangeable elements • interdisciplinary working • Konrad Wachsmann • Lufthansa • material cultureMax Billmechanisation • methodological analysis • new approach • Nick Roericht • Norman Foster • objective design analysis • Otl Aicherpost-war eraprefabricationproject developmentsemiotics • simple systems • systematic approach • systems in electronics • tablewareUlm School of DesignWilhelm Wagenfeld

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
05 DECEMBER 2013

How calculus is changing architecture

"So, working with Bentley and MicroStation, we've written a custom piece of software that networks all of the components together into these chunks of information, so that if we change any element along the length of the building, not only does that change distribute through each one of the trusses, but each one of the trusses then distributes that information down the length of the entire facade of the building. So it's a single calculation for every single component of the building that we're adding onto. So, it's tens of millions of calculations just to design one connection between a piece of structural steel and another piece of structural steel. But what it gives us is a harmonic and synthesized relationship of all these components, one to another.

This idea has, kind of, brought me into doing some product design, and it's because design firms that have connections to architects, like, I'm working with Vitra, which is a furniture company, and Alessi, which is a houseware company. They saw this actually solving a problem: this ability to differentiate components but keep them synthetic. So, not to pick on BMW, or to celebrate them, but take BMW as an example. They have to, in 2005, have a distinct identity for all their models of cars. So, the 300 series, or whatever their newest car is, the 100 series that's coming out, has to look like the 700 series, at the other end of their product line, so they need a distinct, coherent identity, which is BMW. At the same time, there's a person paying 30,000 dollars for a 300–series car, and a person paying 70,000 dollars for a 700 series, and that person paying more than double doesn't want their car to look too much like the bottom–of–the–market car. So they have to also discriminate between these products. So, as manufacturing starts to allow more design options, this problem gets exacerbated, of the whole and the parts."

(Greg Lynn, February 2005)

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2005abnormalityalgorithmalgorithmic architecture • Antonio Gaudi • architecture • beautiful architecture • beauty • Bentley Motors • BMW • bridge • bubble diagram • buildingcalculation • calculus • Chris Williams • Christopher Wren • computational aestheticscontinuous series • curvature • custom software • dais • digital fabricationdigital toolsdimensions • Frei Otto • furniture • generic form • genetic evolutiongothic • Greg Bateson • Greg Lynn • harmonic • houseware • human-scale understandingideal form • intricacies of scale • Mannheim Concert Hall • manufacturingmathematics • MicroStation • model of beauty • model of nature • modular architecture • monstrosity • mutation • natural form • Norman Foster • parabola • part-whole thinking • physiological development • product designproduct differentiationproportions • Robert Maillart • structural abstractionstructural forcesstructural formstructuresymmetrysynthesised relationship • teratology • vertebrae • Vitra • vocabulary of form • William Bateson

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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