Objectified a.k.a. design is everywhere

January 6, 2009

The folks behind Helvetica have made another great looking design documentary: Objectified.

Screening will begin in March 2009 with a “global tour of film festivals, special events, and cinemas”. Be the first to see it by signing up for the movie newsletter/RSS feed here: http://www.objectifiedfilm.com/screenings/. In the words of the filmmaker, Gary Huswit:

“Objectified is a documentary about industrial design; it’s about the manufactured objects we surround ourselves with, and the people who make them. On an average day, each of us uses hundreds of objects. (Don’t believe it? Start counting: alarm clock, light switch, faucet, shampoo bottle, toothbrush, razor…) Who makes all these things, and why do they look and feel the way they do? All of these objects are “designed,” but how can good design make them, and our lives, better?

One reason that I’m delving into the world of objects in this film is that I, admittedly, am obsessed by them. Why do I salivate over a shiny new piece of technology, or obsess over a 50-year-old plywood chair? What does all the stuff I accumulate say about me, and do I really need any of it in the first place?”

If you’ve ever come away from a book like Humble Masterpieces, by Paola Antonelli with a sense of wonder at the wonderful designs you unwittingly rest much of your daily life on, you’ll know what he means. Here are a few examples from the book (from the excellent ArcSpace website, a great resource for both architects and designers):

Lead Pencil, 1761

In 1565, a sticky black substance thought to be lead was found underneath an uprooted three in the Cumberland Hills of the United Kingdom. People began to use it to write erasable marks by inserting it into a rough wooden holder. In the late eighteen century, the Swedish chemist Karl Wilhelm Scheele identified the material as a crystallized form of carbon and named it graphite after the Greek word graphein, which means to write.

Kaspar Faber, German, 1730-1784
Nicolas-Jacques Conté, French, 1755-1805
Graphite and cedar wood
This model manufactures by Faber-Castell. Germany

M&M’s, late 1930s

Did you know that M&M’s were used by soldiers going into battle who needed a quick pick-me-up? Hence the durable candy shell that prevented melting.

Forrest Mars, American, 1904-1999
Manufacturer: Mars, USA

Kikkoman Soy Sauce Dispenser, 1961

Designing the spout proved the greates challenge. An inward angle on the tip of the spout proved the right solution, preventing the sauce from pooling in the spout and dripping onto the table. Shipping volume has reached 250 million bottles, roughly twice Japan’s population.

Kenji Ekuan, Japanese, born 1929
GK Design Group, Japanese, established 1953
Glass and polystyrene plastic
manufacturer: Kikkoman Corporation, Japan

What’s your favourite everyday design?


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