A Primer of Design-as-Art Movements

Contemporary auctions for design objects have been fetching prices that rival great artworks. These pieces are typically sitting on the same auction block. Where can one draw the line between a utilitarian design object and an artistic expression? Probably in the production quantity. Limited edition pieces by sought-after designers have the singularity of fine art, although the purpose of limited edition design objects can typically be attributed to bumping up a price tag.

There’s a good synopsis of five design-as-art movements at ARTINFO. They touch upon The Wiener Werkstätte, The Bauhaus, American Studio, Memphis, and Functional Art.

Some representative pieces:

Josef Hoffman, of the The Wiener Werkstätte

Josef Hoffmann

Marianne Brandt, of the Bauhaus

Marianne Brandt

George Nakashima, of the American Studio

George Nakashima

Ettore Sottsass, of Memphis (an Italian movement)

Ettore Sottsass

Tom Dixon, of Functional Art

Tom Dixon

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