Documentary series exploring the history of design. The first episode of this new series tells the fascinating story of the birth of industrial design. Alongside the celebrated names, from Wedgwood to William Morris, it also explores the work of the anonymous designers responsible for prosaic but classic designs for cast-iron cooking pots to sheep shears – harbingers of a breed of industrially produced objects culminating in the Model T Ford. Includes interviews with legendary designer Dieter Rams and J Mays, Ford Motors’ global head of design.
In the crisis-stricken decades of the 1920s and 1930s, with the world at the tipping point between two global wars, design suggested dramatically different ideas about the shape of things to come, from the radical futurism of the Bauhaus to the British love affair with mock-Tudor architecture and the three-piece suite.
The Genius of Design examines the Second World War through the prism of the rival war machines designed and built in Germany, Britain, the USSR and the USA, with each casting a fascinating sidelight on the ideological priorities of the nations and regimes which produced them.
The story of design enters the 50s and 60s, when a revolutionary new material called plastic combined with the miracles of electronic miniaturization to allow designers to offer post-war consumers something new: liberation.
Picking up the story of design from the drab days of the late 70s, the final episode tracks the explosion of wild creativity that defined the ‘designer decades’ of the 80s and early 90s. By addressing wants rather than needs and allying themselves to the blatant consumerism of ‘retail culture’ designers emerged from the backrooms to claim a starring role in the shaping of modern life.