Die Form: Zeitschrift für gestaltende Arbeit — 5.1930

Page: 312
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qu'A. Loos a lance son « Crime et Ornement », on a
fait du progres: Pobjet ou la maison elle-meme est
devenue un ornement, le principe decoratif s'etant
deplace de la partie au tout.

Quelles sont donc les influences qui ont permis
ä ces vieilles habitudes de subsister malgre la lecon
de la production naturelle et selectionnee de la
machine? A tout seigneur, tout honneur: Penseigne-
ment est, le premier, responsable des coutumes
nefastes. Les Academies aidees par les cours d'art
decoratif crees jusque dans les ecoles menageres
des petites villes pour embellir le siecle de la
machine, ont empeche des generations non seule-
ment de techniciens mais de clients d'abandonner

« l'objet d'art » de Partisan et d'accepter les con-
sequences du machinisme: suppression de l'orne-
ment et de l'objet decoratif, travail en serie, rende-
ment uni des hommes, des machines, des materiaux;
au lieu de Pexaltation anarchique d'un createur
individuel, une collaboration active entre les indus-
triels, les dessinateurs specialistes, les techniciens
et la clientele. Le Merite du Werkbund est de
s'efforcer de realiser cette collaboration, base de
la production moderne, et gräce ä ses expositions, de
la realiser avec le concours du public, ce qui permet
un travail d'analyse, de comparaison, de contröle
et de rectification, bref, d'experience indispensable
au progres.



One of the classical jokes of English literature facturers are incapable of realising this does not

occurs in Sir Thomas Browne's "Religio Medici." alter the truth of the contention. British manu-

The list of chapters of this ponderous volume facturers are obstinately trying to go on living and

contains one entitled "On Snakes in Iceland." manufacturing in the world of the XIXth Century.

Reference to this particular chapter discloses that Our insularity, which is even more a mental than a

it consists of the statement "there are no snakes geographic condition, helps them to continue in this

in Iceland." The present position in Great Britain fool's paradise. There is something lamentably

in regard to the evolution of rationalized or simpli- "amateurish" about the human atmosphere of nine

fied type-forms for manufactured articles in daily British factories out of ten which is at once dis-

use is nearly as completely negative. This vital cernible to anyone returning from a business visit

problem is not as yet understood by the public at to Continental works engaged in manufacturing the

large. There is an almost entire ignorance among same kind of goods. This atmosphere is exhaled

manufacturers of the fact that it exists, and that by managing directors and technical staffs far more

on its progressive Solutions will depend the future than by workmen and foremen. The former are not

trend of industrial development. One of the diffi- sufficiently educated in the nature and potentialities

culties in educating opinion in this direction is that of the raw materials and processes which they

there is no readily comprehended, or convenient, ex- employ. Too offen they are either wholly ignorant

pression in English for what is known as "Typen- of, or indifferent to, what is being done by their

waren" in German. The technical vocabulary of immediate Continental rivals. In matters of taste,

Modernism is still in a too primitive and embryonic or new departures in design, they are inclined to be

state for comprehension of the term to be generally disdainful or suspicious of anything "foreign." One

grasped. of the indirect results of this is that a "modern"

It is a melancholy and humiliating confession for design implies something of an "art nouveau"type

an Englishman to make that the great movement of decoration to the majority of British manufactur-

towards standardisation of design in terms of func- ers and middlemen. Both have lost the adventurous

tional fitness, to which the genius of the German spirit. They shun experiments. They will not look

people is now applying itself, should find no echo ahead. They have little or no conscious pride, or

in the country which initiated the Industrial Age. But feeling of exhilaration, in the age they live in. Most

it has to be candidly admitted that no nation has of them, indeed, are so purblind as not to have

more stubbornly resisted rationalisation in industry. realised that it differs in any material respect from

To none—not even the French—are standardisation the preceding one. They Iure themselves into a feel-

and mass-production more abhorrent. This will prob- ing of false security, aided by the inherent British

ably seem all the more paradoxical to foreigners mental indolence, by believing that the XXth Century

because Englishmen and English women usually is simply a continuation of the XIXth; and that the

seem to them the most standardised of mortals in values of the two are largely interchangeable. Thus

appearance and opinions. In reality, under deceptive it is scarcely surprising that in Great Britain we can

externals, no nation is further removed from ap- as yet hardly make any showing in the production of

proximation to the concept of "Massenmensch." simplified "Typenwaren," if only because we do

The depressed state of British industry and the not even know what they are.

progressive decline of our foreign markets are the The English mentality in regard to machinery and

direct result of innate conservatism, of a refusal to machine-made articles is a difficult one to under-

live and work in the spirit of the present age. The stand. The national pride in having once led the

Briton is temperamentally incapable of understand- world in these respects is purely superficial,

ing the significance of the word "international." Beneath it lurks a belief, as passionately sincere

Asked to define it, he would probably answer: "the as it is illogical, that there can be no question as to

sort of thing they do on the Continent," which, he the superiority of hand-made articles. The machine

would leave it to be understood, he was thankful to is mistrusted as a bad and slipshod workman. The

say was not done in his own island. That our manu- nation as a whole has yet to be converted to an

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