MoMA
Posts tagged ‘symbol’
December 24, 2015  |  Collection & Exhibitions
Good Design Does Well

Being a New Yorker may mean I don’t have the best Pollyanna game going, but it doesn’t stop me from being a true-blue fan of acts of good citizenship.  Teddy Roosevelt said that the “first requisite of a good citizen in the Republic of ours is that he be able and willing to pull his weight.” As a staunch defender of the environment; I’d bet Teddy would also be an avid recycler if he were around today, and I’m sure he’d count recycling as an essential act of good citizenship.

You can’t tell me you don’t feel at least a little pleased with yourself, knowing you’re doing the right thing, every time you separate your glass and your cardboard. Yes, it’s a nuisance, but as we used to say back in the early days of the modern environmental movement: “If you’re not part of the solution…you’re part of the pollution.”

Gary Anderson. Recycling Symbol. 1970

Gary Anderson. Recycling Symbol. 1970

The first Earth Day made its way onto the scene in 1970, and shortly thereafter the Container Corporation of America, a major user of recycled products, sponsored an environmental symbols graphic arts contest. Gary Anderson, an architecture student from California, won with his now famously ubiquitous design of a three-part Möbius strip with open points offering entry into recycling’s never-ending cycle of use—reuse at each turn.  Though the Universal Recycling Symbol resides in the public domain, it has also been added to The Museum of Modern Art’s architecture and design collection, and can be found on the gallery walls in the current exhibition This Is for Everyone: Design Experiments for the Common Good. The exhibition takes its title from Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s 2012 London Olympic Stadium tweet, and sets off to explore design’s possible egalitarian (or not-so-egalitarian) ways.

Marjan van Aubel & James Shaw. Well Proven Stool. 2014. Bioresin and cherry wood, 25 3/16 x 15 3/4 x 13 3/4″ (64 x 40 x 35 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Committee on Architecture and Design Funds. Photographer: Jonathan Muzikar

Marjan van Aubel & James Shaw. Well Proven Stool. 2014. Bioresin and cherry wood, 25 3/16 x 15 3/4 x 13 3/4″ (64 x 40 x 35 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Committee on Architecture and Design Funds. Photographer: Jonathan Muzikar

Also on view in the exhibition are Marjan van Aubel and James Shaw’s eco-friendly Well Proven Stools. Upon learning that that there is a 50 to 80 percent timber wastage in the process of manufacturing wood products from wood planks, the Dutch-British design team decided to build a series of stools and chairs that could use/reuse all of this industrial by-product.

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Marjan van Aubel and James Shaw. Well Proven Stool. 2014

They devised a method and recipe for forming the seats from a bio-resin-impregnated mix of recycled wood sawdust, chips, and shavings. Perched upon traditional legs made of turned ash, walnut, or cherry, the pigmented spongy-looking foam and wood chip-mix seats make for an unconventional, but not unattractive, appearance.

Bio-resins are made from organic or plant materials instead of the usual fossil-fuel base, and are themselves recyclable. The material is sturdy and strong yet quite light making the Well Proven Stool possess exactly the qualities you’d want in a stool: comfortable, durable, rugged, and portable, plus they’re environmentally responsible. What could be more equable?

Two Well Proven Stools are on view until January 17, in This is for Everyone. The Universal Recycling Symbol </em>can be found everywhere.