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

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

by Judy Attfield (Editor)


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780719058448
Publisher: Manchester University Press
Publication date: 02/28/2002
Series: Studies in Design Series
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 6.68(w) x 9.32(h) x 0.77(d)

About the Author

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

Table of Contents

• 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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