Zaal 7. Professional Display
In the 50s
The Akademie voor Industriële Vormgeving Eindhoven was founded (1947) during the progressive period of reconstruction in the fifties. Design matured to become a professional discipline and outgrew purely industry-focused production. Since such an institution as a ‘design academy’ had never existed in the Netherlands, the first director Rene Smeets embarked on a research trip to America. He was struck by the mindset that ‘design sells’ and met with the conviction that design could improve functionality; that it creates style and increases sales. An ‘appropriately shaped’ design can even outlast temporary trends and enjoy years of popularity, such as Auping’s Auronde bed – 40 years on, it is still a commercial success.
The academy was founded in close collaboration with Philips. As industry underwent major changes through the years, the discourse about professionalism morphed to become a critical reflection on the profession itself. Designers were searching for loopholes in mass-production and experimenting with new approaches and materials. Exploring the consequences of repetition, mass production and coping with mass consumption and resources becoming scarce — as Chris Kabel’s Stack Ring exemplified: 250 identical stools each in a different shade of red.