We take a lot for granted. The study of design more than anything has pointed out to me my ignorance on that. As much as I can hear about psychology and understand the way I think and become aware of my thinking processes I take for granted, I can equally look at everything near me and remember that somebody designed it.
This morning I was looking again at the No. 14 and No. 18 chairs by Thonet. They’re so typical that we don’t notice they exist. It’s just a cafe chair. Perhaps ruined in reputation by have so many of them around, and being ripped of constantly (Throws a rock at Ikea for there years of hard work in this field) to the point where the “oh so reliable” wiki entry on it doesn’t actually show the original, as there’s extra wood holding their version together.
(Edit: I'm confused about this now. I've just seen another citation of the No.14 with the extra bits, but I've seen version without being produced.)
Yet this chair pre-dated modernism while being a shining example of all modernisms principals, and for that alone is pretty amazing.
Trying to imagine a world without steam bent wood may not seem like the most exciting proposition (“For fuck sake Dillon, can’t you just draw more cats with nipples?”) but it can be equally applied to the bent tubular steel of the Bauhaus, a world without bookbinding, or, for the new generation, a world without instant connectivity.