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Rethinking The Modular

Adaptable Systems in Architecture and Design

Tido von Oppeln


Sixty academics, students and alumni of leading design and architecture schools from around the world explore such questions as: What form will the components of modular systems take in the future? To what extent do we view our environment as modular?

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The modular did not have to be invented: it can be found everywhere. We divide surfaces into grids, spaces into parts, and time into rhythmic units. Modular structures are also increasingly being recognized as a way of communicating, where the aim is not to construct a universal principle but to facilitate interplay between different systems.

Building on the visionary design system that architect Fritz Haller and engineer Paul Schärer developed in 1965 for Swiss furniture company USM, Rethinking the Modular brings together specially commissioned essays and interviews with leading designers, architects and thinkers to present the wide-ranging importance and influence of modular design over the past fifty years. In revealing the broad possibilities created by balancing structure with flexibility, the timely publication redefines the place of modularity in modern design history, and offers a rich resource for designers today.

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: Paperback with flaps

Size: 24.0 x 16.2 cm

Extent: 298 pp

Publication date: 2 May 2016

ISBN: 9780500292358

Contents List

Preface/Introduction • I. The Systematic John Thackara: Back to the present; Rick Poynor: The Prospects and Limits of Connection; Georg Vrachliotis: Fritz Haller’s city systems • Interviews with Thomas Lommée, Wolf Mangelsdorf and Lorenzo Bini II. The Modular Martino Stierli: The USM Haller from a modern/postmodern viewpoint Rem Koolhaas: extract from Rem Koolhaas & Hans-Ulrich Obrist: The Conversation Series; Alva Noë: extract from Out of our Heads: Why You Are Not Your Brain, and Other Lessons from the Biology of Consciousness; Catharine Rossi: Squaring up to Superstudio: Grids, Modularity and Utopianism in Italian Radical Design; Interviews with Dimitri Bähler, Allan Wexler, Bless and Go Hasegawa

About the Author

A prolific writer for many design magazines, Tido von Oppeln also edited the book Totem and Taboo: Complexity and Relationships between Art and Design. He has been a lecturer in design theory and history in Lucerne and Zurich since 2009.

List of Contributors

Burkhard Meltzer, Dimitri Bähler, Lorenzo Bini, Bless, Thomas Dienes, Go Hasegawa, Rem Koolhaas, Thomas Lommée, Wolf Mangelsdorf, Jürgen Mayer H, Alva Noë, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Nathalie du Pasquier, Rick Poynor, Catharine Rossi, Antonio Scarponi, Jerszy Seymour, Martino Stierli, et al

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