Researching a text on Donald Judd ahead of the opening of the exhibition “Donald Judd. A good chair is a good chair” at Die Neue Sammlung – The International Design Museum in Munich, we came across an essay he wrote in 1993 called “It’s Hard to Find a Good Lamp”
We’re not claiming any major scoop here – the text is published on the website of the Donald Judd Foundation and is freely available to all.
It was however new for us. And we think we may have a new hero.
An engaging, if at times rambling and self-involved, text “It’s Hard to Find a Good Lamp” is not only a highly enjoyable censure of the state of the global design industry in 1993, but still relevant to many contemporary design debates.
Indeed, read in relation to the #milanuncut debate about designers payments,
“The producer, not the factory, and the retailer, or both as one, receive the most money,… “
or in context of the ever increasing importance of Open Design
“Most things could be made in the area in which they are consumed, eliminating the big distributor,… ”
some of Judd’s comments sound almost visionary.
Its also worth pointing out that many of Judd’s designs are in any case perfectly suited for Open Design. It would have been interesting to know if he would have embraced the possibilities.
Equally interesting would have been his views on apple. For we believe that in praising the design of Sony products, he even predicts the rise of Jonathan Ive and apple to the popular zenith of product design
“In addition to the success of Sony’s design, there is the smaller success of Braun, whose design must be the model, somewhat better as earlier usually is, for Sony’s design.”
And of course our new motto, since yesterday carved in stone above the (smow)blog office door:
“Anyway, what kind of a society is it when you cant even buy a chair?”
As you’ve probably guessed, we cannot recommend “It’s Hard to Find a Good Lamp” by Donald Judd highly enough.