Tag Archives: research

Two days of Open Design / Shared Creativity

Over two very hot days in early July, ‘open’ was the buzzword in Barcelona. Open design, open practices, sharing, co-creation, the digital commons and creative commons licensing, makerbots and arduino, fashion, craft, downloadable design, crowdfunding, open archives, new aesthetics and much, much more.

We had a truly fantastic international line-up of speakers, and they all agreed to share their talks with us on the conference website. So head that way for audios of all the talks, as well as a few videos and slideshows.

As part of the programme of activities around the conference, we also set up a couple of experimental graphic design projects based on co-creation, through twitter and dropbox. More on those soon.

Design and History – Book launch

El próximo viernes 19 de marzo, Editorial Designio y la Fundación Historia del Diseño, presentarán el libro Diseño e historia. Tiempo, lugar y discurso en en el Disseny Hub Barcelona (DHUB). Esta nueva publicación de Editorial Designio, es una recopilación de ensayos escritos por Conxa Bayó, Anna Calvera, Isabel Campi, Mireia Freixa, Guy Julier, Viviana Narotzky, Raquel Pelta y Oscar Salinas.
Editorial designio, en combinación con la  Fundación Historia del Diseño, ofrece una notable reflexión de la historia del diseño desde la óptica de reconocidos autores que unen su  conocimiento y experiencia profesional para analizar el desarrollo histórico de las profesiones del diseño moderno y contemporáneo.

Los ensayos que componen este volumen han sido redactados con una notable libertad, al principio del libro el objeto de estudio es la propia historia y su origen mientras que, al final del libro, el objeto es el estudio  de casos de historia local.
Así, se aborda la necesidad que tienen los diseñadores de que se construya un discurso histórico a fin de legitimar, dar contenido y sentido a su disciplina. Por ello, tanto Oscar Salinas en como Raquel Pelta nos ofrecen una panorámica sobre el surgimiento de la historia del diseño en diferentes épocas y contextos. Anna Calvera e Isabel Campi, nos introducen en un temas de creciente interés, como son los orígenes del diseño y el tema de género.

Guy Julier y Viviana Narotzky enfocan su objeto de estudio a la sociedad contemporánea influenciada por la transnacionalización y la globalización y en los nuevos paradigmas del diseño y la cultura material de la mecanización y la seriación que marcan al diseño y la historia en el siglo xx.

Al final, se exponen dos casos de historia local; Mireia Freixa analiza con minuciosidad el paso hacia la conversión de Barcelona en una reconocida capital del diseño internacional, y Concha Bayó presenta una investigación sobre una interesante colección de planchas, auténticas joyas de la tecnología doméstica.
La calidad y variedad de estos ensayos nos entrega un análisis del surgimiento y desarrollo del diseño, que hasta hoy no se había presentado así en el medio iberoamericano.

The Goods? In ‘The Work’

I’ve added a new page to this blog – it’s called ‘The work’. It lives on the right-hand sidebar, alongside ‘the author’, ‘the blog’ and ‘the book’.

It has a selection of links to some of my writing, as well as a few downloadable PDF files. There’s writing on Barcelona, including a full chapter of my book La Barcelona del diseño. Many of you have been asking if it was available in English – not as yet, but here’s a taster.

There’s also links to online excerpts of other things I’ve written about: old American cars in contemporary Cuba, TV makeover shows and domestic interiors, the challenges of historical research in archive-averse environments, or the relationship between footnotes, chairs, and cities.

Go have a look – the goods are in The Work. There are texts in English, Spanish and Catalan, so there’s something for everyone!

How many posters can you stack on the head of a pin?

Book cover by Daniel Gil.

Book cover by Daniel Gil.

I haven’t actually done the head of a pin calculations yet, but I can tell you for a fact that you can fit pretty much all of them in your pocket. The global digitization of archives continues apace, some of it backed by corporate or institutional funding, some of it the work of enthusiastic individuals.

Here’s a brief roundup of some online archives of Spanish graphic design that I’ve recently come across.

Cubiertas de Daniel GilDaniel Gil designed over 2000 book covers for Alianza Editorial between 1966 and 1992. 938 of them are shown here, a labour of love by Alvaro Sobrino.

Josep Artigas – Dissenyador Gràfic. Josep Artigas i Ojeda (Barcelona, 1919-1992) was one of Spain’s major post-war poster designers. Some biographical details are here. (in Catalan). This archive is managed by Memòria Digital de Catalunya (MDC).

Josep Artigas for Nestlé

Josep Artigas for Nestlé

Josep Artigas for Polil, 1949.

Josep Artigas for Polil, 1949.

Also on the MDC catalogue:

Cartells de la Biblioteca de Catalunya,

Cartells de la Biblioteca de l’Esport,

Cartells del Pavello de la Republica (mostly posters from the Second Republic and Civil War).


The everyday comes to Santa Coloma. Local things for local history.

The Museo Torre Balldovina, a local museum in Santa Coloma de Gramenet, near Barcelona, has asked the town’s citizens to contribute everyday objects from the 50s, 60s and 70s. These will be catalogued by the Museum and will be shown in an exhibition this fall. So far, about a hundred pieces have been collected over a few weeks, ranging from typewriters to sewing kits.

La Vanguardia has a nice video with interviews of some of the donors who explain their relationship to the objects they have given. But I can’t embed it so go watch it here.

Madrid Furniture of the 50s and 60s – An Online Catalogue.

Luis M. Feduchi & Javier Feduchi. Room of Hotel Castellana Hilton, Madrid. 1953.

Luis M. Feduchi & Javier Feduchi. Room of Hotel Castellana Hilton, Madrid. 1953.

The Madrid Architectural Association COAM has a great resource for mid-century Madrid design: Catálogo de Muebles – Madrid de los 50 y 60. The online catalogue of images is based on the research carried out for two exhibitions on 1950s and 1960s design respectively, curated by Pedro Feduchi, which took place in 2005 and 2006. The images come from periodical publications such as Revista Nacional de Arquitectura, Hogar y Arquitectura, Nueva Forma, Temas de Arquitectura, and furniture manufacturers’ catalogues of the time period.

The database is organised by designers, pieces, interiors and trade catalogues, and there is also a keyword search option. The interface is not particularly smooth or user-friendly and it’s time-consuming to have to click on every individual entry to see a thumbnail of the image. Searching by item typologies seems to be the most effective option, as thumbnails are supplied. In any case the collection is structured in a clear way and the material is worth the effort.

[Thanks to Jordi Esteve].

Side-chair. Jose Dodero, 1961.

Side-chair. Jose Dodero, 1961.

Side-chair. Miguel Fisac, 1960.

Side-chair. Miguel Fisac, 1960.

T.D.C. Catalogue, 1956. Designs by Fernando Ramon Moliner.

T.D.C. Catalogue, 1956. Designs by Fernando Ramon Moliner.

Fernando Alonso Martinez & Francisco Muñoz Cabrero. Ceiling light, 1955.

Fernando Alonso Martinez & Francisco Muñoz Cabrero. Ceiling light, 1955.

Reading lamp for the Instituto Eduardo Torroja. Commercialised through Darro. 1959

Reading lamp for the Instituto Eduardo Torroja. Commercialised through Darro. 1959