Utility Reassessed: The Role of Ethics in the Practice of Design

Overview

Reassessing the concept of utility, this thought-provoking collection explores the philosophy behind utility, and offer a discussion of rational, or ethical, design theory. Rather than repeating arguments about the inadequacies of modern functional design, the book approaches the subject as a continuing history which has attempted to improve the human condition through a process of rational thought in the construction of the material world. Detailed historical studies of cars, textiles, clothing, ceramics, and ...

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1999 Hardcover Very Good in Very Good dust jacket 0719052777. Text clean and tight; Studies in Design; 9.74 X 6.88 X 0.95 inches; 224 pages.

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Overview

Reassessing the concept of utility, this thought-provoking collection explores the philosophy behind utility, and offer a discussion of rational, or ethical, design theory. Rather than repeating arguments about the inadequacies of modern functional design, the book approaches the subject as a continuing history which has attempted to improve the human condition through a process of rational thought in the construction of the material world. Detailed historical studies of cars, textiles, clothing, ceramics, and furniture are presented alongside a generic definition of utility which puts forth a new ethical design theory.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
For some decades Utility has been discredited along with other utopian design ideals as one of the lesser instances of the failure of Modernism, at best a poor attempt to make a virtue of the gray shabbiness of Britain during and after World War II. Specialists in art history, textiles, and other disciplines define the characteristics of the school, reassess its history, and ponder its ethics. Among their topics are the Council of Industrial Design and the Co-operative Wholesale Society, furniture and the myth of Utility 1943-48, freedom of design, and the politics of consumption. US distribution is by St. Martin's Press. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780719052774
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Publication date: 8/28/1999
  • Series: Studies in Design Series
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.88 (w) x 9.74 (h) x 0.95 (d)

Meet the Author

Judy Attfield is Lecturer in Design History and Material Culture at Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton.

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Table of Contents

Preface
• Introduction: Utility Reassessed—Judy Attfield
Part I: Defining Utility Design
• Utility Prefigured: Ruskin and St. George's Mill—Linda Coleing
• 'Pro Arte Utili': The Utility Principle in Finnish Textile Design Education—Marjo Wiberg
• An Episode in Post-Utility Design Management: The Council of Industrial Design and the Co-operative Wholesale Society—Jonathan M. Woodham
• "Beauty Everyday and For All": The Social Vision of Design in Stalinist Poland—David Crowley
• 'The Beauty of Stark Utlility': Rational Consumption in America—Consumer Reports 1936-1954—Susie McKellar
Part II: Reassessing the History of Utility Design
• The Design of Utility Vehicles in Wartime Britain—Jonathan Bell
• Utility Furniture and the Myth of Utility 1943-1948—Matthew Denney
• The Utility Garment: Its Design and Effect on the Mass Market 1942-1945—Helen Reynolds
• Fashion, Femininity and "Frivolous" Consumption in World War Two Britain—Pat Kirkham
• Utility Forgot: Shaping the Future of the British Pottery Industry 1941-1945—Graham McLaren
• Enid Marx: Designing Textiles for the Utility Furniture Design Advisory Panel—Cynthia R. Weaver
Part III: Theorising the Ethics of Utility Design
• Utility, Design Principles and the Ethical Tradition—Nigel Whiteley
• Freedom of Design—Judy Attfield
• Utility and the Politics of Consumption—Patrick J. Maguire
• FascinatingFitness: The Dangers of Good Design—Judy Attfield
• Design and the State: Postwar Horizons and Pre-millenial Aspirations—Jonathan M. Woodham

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