Modern design was established as a discipline and a profession in its own right in the postwar decades, but its ideals and creative practices evolved out of art and architecture.
This exchange goes back to a romantic dream of the union of all arts and the transgression from art to life as expressed in the writings and practices of both Richard Wagner and William Morris. But the unifications and transgressions have turned out very differently in the interiors of Art Nouveau, the experiments at Bauhaus, the total design of postwar Modernism and in contemporary hybrid constellations between design, art and architecture.
This discussion of cultural vision and thinking in totalities is reflected in cases like Verner Panton’s interior designs, Arne Jacobsen’s SAS Hotel and Peter Behrens’ corporate identity for AEG.
Anders V. Munch is professor in Design Culture at University of Southern Denmark and professor II in Design History at Oslo School of Architecture and Design. His background is history of ideas with a Ph.D. on Adolf Loos and a Post.Doc. on the notion ’Gesamtkunstwerk’, the total work of art.