Classic Design

I started to flip through the Phaidon Design Classics volume 1 (of 3) to kill a few moments. It turned into a momentous massacre. Wave after wave of moments falling like Persians at the hands of the Spartans. Needless to say I was late to my next appointment.

It is brilliant overview of design and filled with 'Now that I did not know' snippets with which to annihilate design poseurs at dinner parties.

Case in point - I did not know that the Citroen 2CV originally had plastic windows and a magnesium alloy chassis to save weight. Very space age for 1948.

Actually the 2CV reminds me that, above all things a design should be useful. That might seem like a doggedly modernist view, but not really. My post-modern tendencies mean that a design need not be used for its originally intended purpose. The 2CV began life as a utilitarian object that made no statement. If you use one these days it probably means you are making a statement about your own identity. I'd sooner have an old 2CV than a nasty little Toyota Prius. Better for the environment you see. I think I'd also like one of those weird Citroen delivery vans that Peter Sellers drove into the pool in one of the Pink Panther movies.

Weird huh? The antithesis of the sexy products that emerge from Apple's labs.

Buy a copy of Phaidon Design Classics for your design library from New Zealand's own online bookstore Fishpond.


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