Architects and Industrial Design.

24 May 2023
Architecture and industrial design are two separate fields of study, but they do share similarities. In essence, both architects and industrial designers are problem solvers and focus on the way people live, but through the lens of different scales and perspectives.
Many trained and/or practising architects are also successful industrial designers creating familiar, and sometimes iconic, everyday products.
Drawing upon MoDiP’s collections, we have examples from Arne Jacobsen (whose designs usually came about through his architectural projects), Zaha Hadid (who set up a dedicated design studio in 2006), Julian Hakes (who believes shoes are wearable pieces of architecture), and Anna Castelli-Ferrieri (who became Italy’s leading female industrial designer throughout the 1960s-1980s), as well as many others. We have put together a small exhibition featuring these inspirational pieces, which will be on display throughout the summer.

Here are some of my favourites:

Ripples by Ron Arad, 2017.
Reminiscent of the ripples caused by throwing stones into water, this bottle is flat and rectangular for efficient storage, inspired by the dimensions of slim-line laptops. Arad translated the volume of half a litre into an A5 shape and was surprised by how thin a potential bottle could be. However, a thin, flat plastic bottle wall would inflate too much once the liquid was poured in, so he chose to incorporate structural waves into the surface, sculpted into a ripple design. It is injection moulded in styrene-acrylic copolymer (SMMA).

CD case by Daniel Weil, 1993.
This opaque, orange coloured CD case with raised studs was designed by Daniel Weil for the Pet Shop Boys album 'Very'. The design was intended to make the case a recognisable object in its own right, as opposed to merely a cover for an identifiable image and is made of polystyrene.  

Terraillon kitchen scales by Marco Zanuso, 1976.
A variation of the iconic BA2000 design created by Marco Zanuso in 1969, this set of orange coloured kitchen scales is injection moulded in acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS). When not in use, the weighing pan is stored upside down on the base to create an efficient, compact, sleek, geometric form. A red coloured model dated to 1982 can be seen in the background.

Trama bowls by Patricia Urquiola, 2016
Compression moulded in melamine formaldehyde (MF), these grey coloured bowls were inspired by Japanese pottery. They are very tactile, being coarse to the touch, and feature a geometric design with four overlapping lines on the bottom which act as a non-slip base.

Other work on display includes Joe Colombo’s Optic clock, Ettore Sottsass’ Valentine typewriter, Alessandro Mendini’s Anna G corkscrew, Mario Bellini’s Moon bowl, John & Sylvia Reed’s Rotaflex lampshade, Michael Graves’ salt shaker and pepper grinder and Danilo Silvestrin’s clothes hanger.

Katherine Pell
Collections Officer