. Who isThe Author ? .Bruno Munari (1907-1998), born in Milan, was the enfantterrible of Italian art and design for most of the twentieth century,contributing to many fields of both visual (paint, sculpture, film, industrialdesign, graphics) and non-visual arts (literature, poetry).
He was twiceawarded the Compasso d’Oro design prize for excellence in his field.Bruno Munari’s Design as Art is an illustrated journey into theartistic possibilities of modern design translated by Patrick Creagh publishedas part of the ‘Penguin on Design’ series in Penguin Modern Classics. ‘Thedesigner of today re-establishes the long-lost contact between art and thepublic, between living people and art as a living thing’ Bruno Munari was amongthe most inspirational designers of all time, described by Picasso as ‘the newLeonardo’. Munari insisted that design be beautiful, functional and accessible,and this enlightening and highly entertaining book sets out his ideas aboutvisual, graphics and industrial design and the role it plays in the objects we useevery day. Lamps, road signs, typography, posters, children’s books,advertising, cars, and chairs – these are just some of the subjects to which heturns his illuminating gaze. How do we see the world around us? The Penguin onDesign series includes the works of creative thinkers whose writings on art,design and the media have changed our vision forever. Design as Art is considered by manyas one of the most influential design books ever published.
Design as art is A collection of Munari’s essays onvarious topics concerning design and art. if there is a distinction at allbetween them, which Munari questions at the start of the book. these shortessays each two or three pages long, are grouped together under five areas;designers as stylists, visual design, graphic designs, industrial design andresearch design. Munari said “the vase once had anextremely common use. Most probably it was used for cooking oil.
It was made bya designer of those times when art and life went hand in hand and there was nosuch thing as a work of art to look at and just any old thing to use. I”.And this shows that Art and lifeare inseparable. It was difficult to distinguish between the technology worksand tools used in daily life was to cut more than the use of art was not purelypiecesMunari begins by saying:”The designer of todayre-establishes the long-lost contact between art and the public, between livingpeople and art as a living thing. … There should be no such thing as artdivorced from life, with beautiful things to look at and hideous things to use.If what we use every day is made with art, and not thrown together by chance orcaprice, then we shall have nothing to hide.
“This book shows me that a lot haschanged since the Classical and Renaissance eras. Art is no longer a thing forthe selected few. Instead, designers are becoming the modern-day artists, whofuse his aesthetic beliefs with functionality, therefore creating objects usedby many effectively.
Properly designed objects should make the user feels thepresence of the artist, who is bettering his life and encouraging him todevelop sense of beautyThis is a good book. It isInteresting and not an easy read. It is a book that does need to be readcarefully and picked up again from time to time. Bruno clearly shows how design canbe used as art, and he takes you through the initial design process, and thenthrough applications and critiques with care.The writing style is lucid andclear What I found was one of the mostbrilliant explanations of the merit of industrial, graphics, and architecturaldesign I have come across yet. Munari’s very mid-century Italian humor pairswell with his immense knowledge of the tradition of commercial design as an artform.
In many ways, Design as Art helped me learn to engage with everydayobjects as not just objects of utility, but expressions of culture andaesthetic value. Either way, Munari basically saideverything Dieter Rams wanted to say about design in a much more round-aboutway, so kudos to him for that.It is interesting to see the imageof design in the 50’s and the 60’s that are portrayed clearly by Bruno Munariin this book. Design in that period is morerelated to engineering, architecture, mathematics, and physics.
He introducesus something new at that time which is design as art that becomes the norm now.But, it’s quite technical and rigid explanation that we will find in this bookso might be a bit complicated to grasp Throughout the book Munari keepsgoing back to Japanese design, Asobi, Also means game, which he approves Thereason for this is that Japanese design is oftentimes exactly what I’vedescribed above: it’s designing the object as the object itself, and not animitation of something else. Munari said “What then is thisthing called Design if it is neither style nor applied art? It is planning: theplanning as objectively as possible of everything that goes to make up thesurroundings and atmosphere in which men live today. This atmosphere is createdby all the objects produced by industry, from glasses to houses and evencities.
It is planning done without preconceived notions of style, attemptingonly to give each thing its logical structure and proper material, and inconsequence its logical form.” That means, planning is just aninnovative style and application of art, a logic that rearranges things aroundus from the smallest thing to the biggest thing in which all objects unite tocreate a better life. Another important element ofJapanese design is its close connection to the materials used–an intelligentuse of each material depending on its looks and properties. As a result,Japanese design embodies the object with both, its function, and the propertiesof the materials used.
Take chopsticks. Two pieces of wood. The same piecesof wood can be served to anyone, regardless of their status, and regardless ofthe occasion.
They are simply designed, light and easy to make. They are cheapand you can throw them out after a meal. The only prerequisite for their use isto cut up the meat into bite-size pieces beforehand. Compare this to Westerncutlery. You can buy all sorts of knives, forks, and spoons.
They can be cheap, expensive,steel, silver, funny, serious, light, heavy, and so on, and never mind thevarious utensils and knives designed specifically for different dishes, whetherthat be some Parmesan cheese, or a rack of lamb. Moving to a new house? Youbetter make sure you’ve bought all the various cutlery you’ll need. The Westernutensil is an explosion of complexity whereas the chopstick is an eating toolreduced to its simplest form.