Monday 09 November 2020
This book considers the history, theory and considered meanings of ‘icon’, in relation to the 20th Century and contemporary furniture. It provides new ways of understanding and appreciating contemporary furniture (specifically, chair) design in terms of inspiration, production and markets. The contemporary chair is retheorised, re-conceptualised and re-made into new forms of manufactured and craft authenticity and authority.
The first two thematic chapters, ‘Defining the Icon’ and ‘Producing the Icon’, both chart the foundations of 20th Century furniture design history and serve as contextual frameworks. Significant objects are the structural spine of ‘iconic’ recognition and are used to highlight not only their significance relative to their design, but also a wider context that looks at consumers, markets and marketing, and key issues around copyright.
The third chapter, ‘Companies and the Re-Imagining of the Icon’, is the natural bridge to an analysis of chair reinterpretation in contemporary theory and practice. This is framed elegantly within the book’s second half, which considers both maker (known and anonymous) and consumer (and even, consumermaker), most specifically in the final chapter, ‘The Consumer as Designer and Maker’.
This richness of content will appeal to collectors, students and scholars. Strong images (including a glossy 16-page colour central insert) complement the author’s commitment to visual language and analysis. The book is the result of over 15 years of research and reflection. Its pedagogic, theoretical and market-based structure flows from the author’s leadership of Sotheby’s Institute of Art’s highly successful MA in Contemporary Design. It is a key cornerstone for ongoing contemporary design scholarship.
Re-Issue Re-Imagine Re-Make: Appropriation In Contemporary Furniture Design
Elisabeth Darby, Lund Humphries, 2020, £35 hb (Special offer: £10 off and free UK postage. Use offer code REISSUE10 at the checkout at www.lundhumphries.com. Valid until 31 December, 2020.)
Condensed from a review by Elizabeth Bogdan in DAS Newsletter No. 120