Book Review: European Design Since 1985

Third in a series of contemporary design exhibitions organized by Craig Miller in the 1990’s, this volume highlights the work of over one hundred designers covering nine distinctive styles. Written by internationally respected design historians, Catherine McDermott, Penny Sparke and R. Craig Miller, meticulously researched and filled with hundreds of full color photos, this is a stunning body of work. Careful consideration is given to forces that shaped the different design movements including politics, economics, culture and social pressures.

The movements are divided into nine groups such as the Neo-Decorative Design illustrated by the textile rich 1963 series of Hella Jongerius. The Neo-Dada/Surreal Design movement including the powerful if disturbing work of Maarten Baas with his wooden knife blocks made in the shape of human heads with knives stuck in at odd angles. Biomorphic Designs are easily recognized by their sweeping, graceful lines as seen in fantastically shaped lamps, highly stylized chairs and redesigned utilitarian items like scissors, gas cans and water bottles.

Designers and design historians will find the insightful observations illuminating and the many photographs an invaluable addition to their reference library. Anyone with a passing interest in interior design will find plenty to enjoy in this beautiful volume and a joy to just idly flip through.

Note the date on this article may be incorrect due to importing it from our old system.