Streamlining George Nelson


Mentoring in the Design Professions

“Streamlining began as an engineering technique, but quickly became a driver for style.  Such a movement begins with a philosophical zeal, proclaiming a new scientific basis between form and meaning. As it is assimilated into the mainstream, it becomes a vernacular, something applied more and more carelessly. Even things that did not need to move through air or water were subjected to wind tunnels — furniture, toasters, even parking meters! Eventually it becomes a form of visual pollution, until some new innovation captures the popular imagination with a new, world-changing design philosophy.”

As product designer and architect, Nelson is unabashedly consumerist. “I’m comfortable with my role helping people feel good about their material surroundings,” he says, “about helping them find an identity in the things they need to live. Remember that design has only recently become an academic subject, taught in universities. It began as a survival skill, before recorded history. Design should be a force for good, of course, no one argues with that. But design is all about selling survival strategies—for countries, for companies, for products, but ultimately it is always funded by people.”

In one Philosophy of Design lecture, a student asks if there will ever be another Venice. Nelson turns the challenge around, placing the responsibility on the design community.

“Venice was a unique collaboration. There were visionary designers there, capable of painting word pictures of things that had never been dreamt. They convinced their bankers that through design, they could establish a mercantile empire, drawing customers to their own, uniquely irresistible headquarters. Those boys down on Wall Street have the money to build Venice ten times over. If New York isn’t as spectacular as Venice it isn’t the bankers’ fault! We in the design community must not be making a compelling enough case for the power of visionary design.”

Read the full article here


No Responses Yet to “Streamlining George Nelson”

  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: