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UAL Research Online

Form Follows Idea: An Introduction to Design Poetics

Ball, Ralph and Naylor, Maxine (2005) Form Follows Idea: An Introduction to Design Poetics. Black Dog Publishing. ISBN 1904772218

Type of Research: Book
Creators: Ball, Ralph and Naylor, Maxine

‘Form Follows Idea’ was written at the invitation of the publisher who specializes in books on contemporary art, architecture and design. It consolidates the concepts and rationales, which underpin the work of Professor Maxine Naylor (University of Brighton) and myself. Our text reflects upon our individual, independent design activity and recent design collaborations. We specifically draw attention to the concept of integrity using our own experimental design outputs, which are questioned against three frames of reference. These are (1) axioms and milestones within modernist ideology (2) the nature and performance of materials (3) the application of archaeological metaphor as a device for reinventing contemporary artefacts.

Significantly the book formulates and demonstrates, using over 90 of our own sketches, drawings, designs and photographs,(and references to Duchamp, Robert Venturi, SITE) the notion that design itself can be a direct critical medium for cultural reflection without recourse to interpretation by the design critic who ‘writes’ about the artefact. By illustrating 'embedded' visual narrative the book reclaims the role of reflective critic for the artist/designer.

The book’s originality is defined in the foreword by Professor Jeremy Myerson, Director Helen Hamlyn Research Centre, Royal College of Art as ‘a manifesto for a “third way” in design, a championing of cultural enquiry within the object, which goes beyond the idea that designers just design and the context of what they create must be defined and directed by others… With 'Form Follows Idea', Ball and Naylor identify themselves as key players in this debate, their experimentation through design making a significant contribution to the research field.'

Official Website: http://blackdogonline.com/all-books/form-follows-idea.html
Additional Information (Publicly available):

Ralph Ball

Current Research

I define my research activity as critical design practice. My research draws on rhetorical themes and axioms specific to Modernism, Postmodernism and contemporary design. This research is articulated through the generation and realisation of artifacts, which investigate, illuminate and question design culture. I call this activity 'Design Poetics.' Design Poetics forms an experimental, continuously evolving series of objects and collections, which act as commentaries and contemplations on the culture of Modernism, Postmodernism and contemporary design. The work specifically rejects the discrete distinctions of Art, Craft and Design. It explores the conceptual, provocative and lyrical possibilities of the spaces in between. Drawing on rhetorical themes and axioms specific to Modernism and design culture (Form follows Function, Less is More, Decoration and Crime, Transparency, Multi-function etc) object typologies and generic forms characteristic of the modern furniture/lighting genre are re-examined. These rational and reductive axioms are co-opted to endorse paradox and legitimize the invention of formal incongruities, rational irrationalities or poetic transgressions. Ironic iconics: the pieces are self consciously introspective and are made to reflect upon themselves and the culture that supports them.

Publisher/Broadcaster/Company: Black Dog Publishing
Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > Central Saint Martins
Date: 2005
Date Deposited: 07 Dec 2009 09:22
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2011 11:35
Item ID: 1060
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/1060

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