Introduction to the Unit

Why do we study design history?

Design history is a tool we can use to understand our own work better. It helps us understand what it means to be modern. We need to be active about knowledge, challenge it. "Knowledge is not for knowing, knowledge is for cutting"

Industrial revolution

The industrial revolution brought huge changes in agriculture and industry. Modernity is about progress.

Andrews Thomas Gainsborough: Mr and Mrs Andrews, 1750

Darby Casting Iron pots - iron mass production

Painting of a village lit by coal fires Coalbrookdale by night 1801

With industrial progress comes change to the way people live

Separation of Labour

Way of production that allows each worker to focus on just one small task. This allows for greater productivity, the use of specialised machines. Leads to a loss of ownership, the individual worker has no connection to the final product.

modernity is about adopting an attitude to change


during the 1800s, people retreating to the past vase wedgwood vase invented the catalogue pretty much

slavery medal

chrystal palace hyde park

Adrian Forly, Objects of desire watt, fabric production

modernism has its root in enlightenment


Starting with the invention of the electrical telegraph, globalisation has taken the separation of labour to a new level.

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Jennifer Baichwal: Manufactured Landscapes (Opening Sequence), 2008