Below are some of the differences between the original 1984 By Design and the 2004reissue:
The original edition of By Design was dedicated to the memory of Charles Eames. This one is dedicated to the memory of Charles and Ray, who died in 1988. An entire chapter of the book is about the Eames office, and, although I did not change much in it, I did try this time 'round to make their working relationship a little clearer. The following paragraph I left intact, except for the last line.
If the design process is to become a force for making things right, we have to learn more about connections, for making them is intrinsic to every design from a submarine to the door hooks in the Hotel Louis XIV. Connections between what? In Eames' case, between such disparate materials as wood and steel, between such seemingly alien disciplines as physics and painting, between clowns and mathematical concepts, between people—architects and mathematicians and poets and philosophers and corporate executives. (Also between Charles and Ray Eames, who were husband and wife and full collaborators.)
The final line is removed and, without the parenthesis, becomes the first line of the new paragraphs below.
Also between Charles and Ray Eames, who were husband and wife and collaborators, working together intimately and at times seamlessly. Edgar Kaufmann Jr. once wrote pointedly that "Eames is more than Charles," but it has never been easy to say how much more. During an exhibition of their work at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Ray objected vehemently to a caption that described a famous walnut stool as "designed by Ray Eames." "It is an Eames stool," she said, pointing to an even more famous side chair, "just as that is an Eames chair." This was not false modesty, but acknowledgment that Charles's name stood for them both. Ray had in fact designed the stool, but felt that such a credit implied that she had not participated fully in the design of the other objects in the show—which she had.
In the 70s the office, known for decades as "the office of Charles Eames," gradually and deliberately became "the office of Charles and Ray Eames," and the credits were restated accordingly. The designs were theirs. But Charles was always the spokesperson, the public figure, the principal who met with clients, and whose thinking—especially in respect to projects involving computers and mathematics—directed the work, which through most of their careers was identified by Charles Eames's name alone. As John and Marilyn Neuhart wrote in Eames design, the book they produced with Ray Eames, "All projects began and ended with Charles…Ray's perception of events was always filtered through the prism of the Eames office and through Charles's philosophy."
Although it is meant to illustrate that shoes are designed as if men and women have two different species of feet, you can hardly see the shoes in this picture. No matter. Maude Dorr's 1982 photo of this defiantly positioned couple was fascinating in itself, and the point didn't really need visual support anyway. Women's shoes in general have become more user friendly since then, but, as the new picture emphasizes, the irrational has its place.
Left image: original, Source: Maude Dorr. Right image: new edition, Source: Courtesy of Fairchild Publications, Inc.
Throughout the book I kept finding, and deleting, allusions to typewriters, like the one below. Also, I had for years been intrigued by the extent to which people who ostensibly work in offices really work wherever else they can. For a Herman Miller publication I had named that phenomenon "the extended office," but it extended to areas I had not forseen, and eliminated others—even Superman would have a hard time finding a phone booth today. The new edition already covers laptops and cell phones, so I just cut phone booths and added coffee shops and sidewalks.
Typewriters have steadily improved in design because the work of typists and word processors is a measurable (and increasingly expensive) commodity.
On the basis of statistics I am perfectly willing to make up, work can be defined as what people do out of the office. "He's at home today—he had a lot of work to do" is not an uncommon explanation of someone's absence from the office. Much of our work gets done in the Extended Office of restaurants, trains, airplanes, homes, phone booths.
Although we are becoming a nation of "knowledge workers," there is still relatively little knowledge about the knowledge work environment. Because offices are such unproductive environments, we turn to alternatives as often as possible. A clinical psychologist tells me that, on the basis of statistics he has seen, sex can be defined as what people do before marriage. On the basis of statistics I am perfectly willing to make up, work can be defined as what people do out of the office. "He's at home today—he had a lot of work to do" is not an uncommon explanation of someone's absence from the office.
Much of our work gets done in the Extended Office of restaurants, trains, airplanes, cars, homes, coffee shops, and even sidewalks.
The Chock Full of Nuts coffee shops, circa 1980, were meticulously designed to increase the speed of a quick bite. At Starbucks the coffee is better, though costlier, and the design mission is reversed: the home office away from home and office.
Left image: original, source Maude Dorr. Right image: new edition, Source: AP/Wide World Photos
Each chapter of By Design begins with a headnote. Originally the chapter on the design of situations began with this one:
Nobody smokes in church.
In 1982 that was a provocative way of calling attention to the effect of design on behavior, but it's meaningless now. Nobody smokes anywhere, and if they could they'd probably be doing it in church, although maybe not at a drive-in church. The new headnote is the following verse by the Danish designer and philosopher Piet Hein.
Our choicest plans
have fallen through,
our airiest castles
because of lines
we neatly drew
and later neatly stumbled over
Richard Sapper's elegant Tizio lamp has been around since 1972, but the substantially unchanged Luxo lamp remains a design office staple, even though the shade still gets too hot to touch.
Left image: original, Source: Maude Dorr. Right image: new edition, Source: Courtesy of Luxo Corporation
I think I caught most of the anachronisms like the reference to Proposition 13 in the following passage. Not even Californians can be trusted to recognize it. I thought of substituting "bumper stickers for Recall long after Arnold Schwarzenegger became law," but that too would become anachronistic in time, so I simply removed the offending bumper sticker (are there any unoffending bumper stickers?). At the same time I made the driver a woman and introduced road rage, which may not have been in the language in 1982, but was certainly in the driving experience.
Transportation is loaded with difficult situations, most of them having to do with human contact. Sealed from communication with others, the driver on a Los Angeles freeway invents ways to signal: waving, honking, displaying bumper stickers for Proposition 13 long after it has become law, holding his telephone high enough to show the adjacent driver that he has one. The driving itself—the quality of movement from lane to lane—is as much message as medium.
Transportation is loaded with difficult situations, most of them having to do with human contact. Sealed off from other drivers, as they are from her, the driver on a freeway signals by waving, honking, displaying bumper stickers, and gesturing to indicate road rage. The driving itself—the quality of movement from lane to lane—is as much message as medium.
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