Although we’ve mainly been discovering craftsman and artists lately we’re definitely not looking past the fact that we enjoy various designers who have designed items that are currently being mass produced. In fact, my office bookshelf is littered with hoards of books from the likes of Jasper Morrison, Naoto Fukasawa, and the older generation like Aalto and Eames, the latter we’ll be discussing today. I think when it’s done right mass production can be a great thing. Obviously I’m an admirer of handicrafts on the whole because I respect the time and effort that’s gone into one individuals expression, it relates to me more since mass production isn’t unattainable just yet on a personal level. If this can be translated into a mass produced setting then it’s great to see and is very admirable, each method has its place in society in my opinion.
This particular video that I watched at lunch really opened my eyes to the problems that more mainstream designers face on a daily basis, with their products being mocked and ripped off. I think this is even harder to swallow when it’s a family foundation or a family member trying to preserve the designers legacy, authenticity is sure to come into play. Also, when you’re someone like Eames Demetrios, who’s the grandson of Charles and Ray Eames, it’s bound to become a pretty frustrating problem. And although you may think he has ulterior motives, like money or fame, you can actually see from this film the issues that he faces and also how it affects the industry as a whole.
In terms of the quality issue of mass production when I think about someone like Sori Yanagi and his products it really drives home what it means to be a great designer, for example his kettle sells over half a million in Japan alone every year. To produce that amount as a craftsman is impossible but they’ve found a way of mass producing these beautiful designs to the highest degree of quality, the design features are ‘meant to be’, as tacky as that sounds you just wouldn’t have it any other way. This video showcases quite a few of those issues with knock-offs and how they’re purely adding the design features as ornamental garnishes instead of an integral part of the chair, this means that it benefits the user in no way at all. Actually, it could really harm the user.
Obviously I don’t want to spoil the whole film because it’s a great watch, you can view it embedded below. Whilst you’re watching I hope you stick with it because it gets better as it goes along and it’s extremely informative to hear his point of view, it’s also nice to see these chairs in production and the workers making them efficiently. I’ve always loved those ‘how do they do it’ type programmes.