College of Design

Goldstein Museum of Design


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by Jess LaRocca

I'm Jess LaRocca, a sophomore in the Retail Merchandising program at the University of Minnesota. I am extremely interested in the evolution of design and love exploring its history and trying to learn more about what people need from design. Right now, I am researching different products throughout history for PDes 3170: The History and Future of Product Design. I have been searching through the Goldstein Museum's online archives, and am always intrigued by finding something new every time I log on. I am interested in Scandinavian design, especially that during the mid-century modern era, so the Danish Modern exhibit at the Goldstein is a source of inspiration for me!


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This vase, produced by Swedish pottery company Gustavsberg in 1901, is an icon of Swedish Art Nouveau. The Art Nouveau Movement began in 19th century France and lasted through the early 20th century; it is best characterized by "whiplash" curves, stylized images inspired by nature, and often garish elements of style and form. However, at the root of this movement was a obsessive attention to detail in art and decorative pieces.

During the period of Art Nouveau, Sweden and Scandinavian countries began to develop their lasting design identities. In his book The History of Modern Design, David Raizman states that Scandinavian countries looked to traditional folklore and nostalgia, while also embracing modern expansions in design, which led to the development of "an appreciation for the decorative arts, deriving from a connection to nature, the dignity of handicraft, and the creation of modern national style."

The curvilinear properties of this design are a prime example of Art Nouveau pottery, but the overall simplicity of the form and its functionality reflect the Swedish dedication to handicraft and quality. The petal details also reflect both Art Nouveau principles and the Swedish tradition of drawing inspiration from nature through the use of stylized natural elements. Another important Art Nouveau element of this vase are the bowed lines from the petals to the mouth of the vase; these details create a sense of movement and focus, which were essential principles of Art Nouveau. The overall repetition creates an elegant example of the style in a way that also reflects the Swedish value of the beauty in usefulness.

Image:
Gustavsberg vase, 1901, 1982.007.001, gift of Marion John Nelson.



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Fiber into Fantasy14.jpgZandra Rhodes' dresses on display in the GMD exhibition Fiber Into Fantasy (1999), curated by Marilyn DeLong.


by Natasha Thoreson

In 1991, Zandra Rhodes was commissioned to create the Chicago Marshall Field's flagship store holiday extravaganza display. The year's theme was Cinderella, so the London-based designer crafted 12 larger-than-life sparkling ball gowns that were then mounted on custom-made gold mannequins to tell the famous rags-to-riches story. After the holidays, the dresses eventually made their way - via Marshall Field's, Dayton's, and Target - to the Goldstein Museum of Design.


Fiber into Fastasy7.jpgRhodes' dresses on display in the GMD exhibition Fiber Into Fantasy (1999), curated by Marilyn DeLong.

Twenty-three years later, the unique dresses were introduced to me and four of my classmates in Dr. Marilyn DeLong's Material Culture and Design course. For the next year, Dr. DeLong, Mary Alice Casto, Seoha Min, Harini Ramaswamy, Meghan McKinney, and I worked together to research the dresses and the department store holiday display phenomenon. Our work will be published in an upcoming issue of Fashion, Style & Popular Culture. Here are some of the group's reflections on the process of working on this project at the Goldstein.


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FIRST IMPRESSIONS
Dr. DeLong: I first encountered the Zandra Rhodes dresses when they were donated to the GMD. They were fantasy dresses with historic references - not the usual donation. They offered insight into the theater involved in department store displays with their exuberant materials, frills, and glitter.

Mary Alice: Upon first seeing the dresses, they seemed quite costume-like though hard to determine where such a costume might be worn, they were so over the top.... the detail work for the painted designs on the fabric I always thought was spectacular.


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GROUP EFFORT
Dr. DeLong: The opportunity to research the dresses came when I taught the Material Culture and Design class. They offered an interesting comparison with the Zandra Rhodes artifacts already in the GMD historic costume collection and, as it turned out, the research completed by the students was worthy of publication.

Seoha: We had intense discussions regarding the objects and everything about the objects. It was really helpful because it is important to have different people's perspectives to analyze the hidden meaning of one object. Moreover, it was really an opportunity to learn how to collaborate with classmates.

Harini: This gave me the opportunity to analyze the different cultural influences, surprise elements and "the Zandra oomph" that manifested in her clothes. Zandra's dresses simply reflected her identity - a fun loving, expressive, one-of-a-kind designer with a vivid imagination. Her dresses also reflect that she is bold and adventuresome. She often breaks the rules and is unafraid to embrace the unconventional.


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CHALLENGES
Meghan: Finding photographs of the original Zandra Rhodes display proved to be next to impossible! It predates the widespread use of the Internet by enough years to make it difficult to find photographs online, but it didn't take place so long ago that people are beginning to scan photos as nostalgic items from their pasts.


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FINAL REFLECTIONS
Harini: Putting myself in the shoes of a child, I would be really enchanted and fascinated to witness the original display. As a child, I remember being drawn to fairy tales and this would definitely be something memorable.

Mary Alice: I think the original display must have been the stuff of fairytales and fantasy as they were intended, everything to make a little girl smile.



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ElizaPantsTwophotos.jpg Rod Hasse Photography


by Elizabeth Bischoff


I am a sophomore at the U of M, Twin Cities, pursuing an apparel design major as well as a retail merchandising minor. I also have the great fortune to be a part of gallery staff at the Goldstein Museum of Design.

Recently, I had the wonderful opportunity to participate in Align, the Apparel Design Fashion Show on the 15th of February. The show is meant specifically for the seniors to showcase their work, but sophomores and juniors in the program get to showcase a piece of their own work as well.

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I showcased a pair of pants I designed, patterned and sewed to fit my body. The pants are a palazzo style with a high waist; both the waistband and pocket openings feature a scallop detail. The inspiration came mostly from the need of a pant for the everyday girl to wear to an interview or out and about.

Before I could walk down the runway, however, there was a lot to be done. I first had to get through hair and make up, model for a photo shoot and rehearse my walk down the runway. Rehearsing and performing the walk was, perhaps, the most difficult part of the day. I was told to hold my head high, keep my shoulders back and walk with one foot in front of the other - all the while maintaining a neutral expression. From this, I learned the valuable lesson of poise, which helped me display my work to the best advantage. In addition to learning this great lesson, I got to go through this first-time experience with my classmates and show off my hard work.


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Visit http://fashionshow.design.umn.edu/ for more information about Align.



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by Jean McElvain, Assistant Curator at the Goldstein Museum of Design


The 2014 senior apparel lines presented at the Align Fashion Show on the 15th of February were serious and smart as they strode through the courtyard of Rapson Hall. With an array of whites, blacks, grays, and beiges, even the most devout modernist likely craved a bit of color by evening's end. But the diversity of lines brought a riot of smart styles that explored gender-bending, tradition, and futurism. As someone who is constantly looking back at the history of fashion through my work with the Goldstein Museum of Design's collection, I saw hints of past styles while viewing the work of these emerging designers. The likenesses between them are arguable, but I was inspired to explore precedents for a few of my favorites.


The calm romanticism of Karen Fiegen's wedding gown had traces of a mid-1950s Adele Simpson evening dress. The white dress is, of course, much more demure than its strident black counterpoint.


alignandcollection1.jpgleft: Gown by Karen Fiegen. Photo by Rod Hasse.
right: 1984.047.009 Adele Simpson, 1950-1955, Goldstein Museum of Design Collection, Gift of Mrs. Elmer L. Andersen.





Jessa Manthe's toothy gray coat immediately reminded me of 1970s coat by Donald Brooks. While the style lines are dissimilar, Manthe's emphasis on materiality and quirk echoed Brooks' surprising diamond-pattern of raccoon fur.


alignandcollection2.jpgleft: Coat by Jessa Manthe. Photo by Rod Hasse.
right: 1988.022.001 Donald Brooks, 1970, Goldstein Museum of Design Collection, Gift of Annette Neff.





The brooding nature of Paul Erling's dress evoked a 1980s silhouette with de-emphasis on the female form. Erling's dress "out-drama's" its Zandra Rhodes comparison, but both have a sneak-peek element that keeps us visually re-visiting the garment over and over.


alignandcollection3.jpg left: Dress by Paul Erling. Photo by Rod Hasse.
right: 1992.035.008-3 Zandra Rhodes, 1980-1989, Goldstein Museum of Design Collection, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Miles (Shirley) Fiterman.





The crisp lines and blocked use of black and white of this ensemble by Thanh Nguyen elicits a 1980s vibe, complete with a tight turned collar and office-chic attitude.


alignandcollection4.jpgleft: By Thanh Nguyen Photo by Rod Hasse.
right: 1992.035.019 Chanel, 1975-85, Goldstein Museum of Design Collection, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Miles (Shirley) Fiterman.





Kayna Hobbs' jacket, with its asymmetry and highly constructed angles, immediately reminded me of Thierry Mugler's work from the 1980s. Both handle complexity, rigidity, and femininity with aplomb.


alignandcollection5.jpgleft: Jacket by Kayna Hobbs. Photo by Rod Hasse.
right: 2005.001.020-1Thierry Mugler, 1990-1995, Goldstein Museum of Design Collection, Gift of Emily Willard.


Align: The Exhibition will be on display in the GMD's HGA Gallery through May 4, 2014.
Visit http://goldstein.design.umn.edu/exhibitions/ for more information.



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This fall, the College of Design's Text and Image class (GDES 3351) was asked to design a graphic identity (the look that unifies all the promotional materials for an event) for the upcoming Goldstein exhibition, "Signed by Vera: Scarves by an Iconic Designer." This was no small task, as every exhibition requires postcards, posters, banners, and text panels that work together to quickly convey its tone and content to the public.


This is not the first time the Goldstein has collaborated with students. Previous exhibitions have featured student work, including "Quest for the World's Best Baskets," "Redefining, Redesigning Fashion," and "Printed Textiles: Pattern Stories."


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The project started in October with a presentation about Vera scarves and the designer responsible for their success, Vera Neumann. The exhibition themes were discussed, helping students gain a sense of what message these postcards and posters need to send. Following the sneak peek, students were provided with images of the Goldstein's Vera scarves - over 200 - and a short list of requirements. Aside from this, they were free to experiment.


verascarvesDEC2013.jpgScarves by Vera Neumann (American, 1907-1993), Goldstein Museum of Design, Gift of David Anger and James Broberg.


Goldstein staff members were asked to attend two formal critiques. During the first session, each student presented three ideas in draft form. The best of the three was selected. Students then developed that design into a final product.


On December 18, 2013, the class presented their final designs. With 25 excellent designs to choose from, Goldstein staff had a difficult decision to make. In the end, a design by Aimee Brouchard was selected. Aimee's playful composition features a large photo of Vera, resplendent in her signature blonde bob hairstyle and thick black glasses, surrounded by flowers designed for her iconic scarves.


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by Natasha Thoreson


Signed by Vera: Scarves by an Iconic Designer will be on display in Gallery 241, McNeal Hall
May 17 - June 29, 2014.
Opening Party: Friday, May 16, 6-8pm



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by Jessica Barness (MFA Design '12, UMN)
Assistant Professor, School of Visual Communication Design
Kent State University


Just over a year ago, the Goldstein Museum of Design's Emigre Magazine Index was launched to communicate and provide online access to the contents of Emigre magazine issues in the GMD collection. As the designer and author of this project, I shared my research at the inaugural 'Design and the Digital Humanities' panel at the Midwest Modern Language Association 2013 national convention, held November 8-10 in Milwaukee, WI. Our panel examined the role of design and digital technologies in humanities research, and my work was joined by other presentations on data visualization, design education and video poetry.

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An important part of graphic design authorship history, Emigre magazine was published from 1984-2005. Its first issues coincide with the early use of MacIntosh computers by graphic designers, and parallels were noted between this and the exploration of digital technologies by designers today.


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In the panel discussion I talked about my design process, in which a sketchbook and spreadsheet evolved into a complex website that highlights how form and content are intertwined in Emigre magazine. On the website, colors, typefaces, organizational structure and the many ways the reader can interact with the content are deliberately designed to affect understanding.


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Additionally, attendees were introduced to the magazine's size, theme, and format changes, as well as my decisions on how hundreds of authors and contributions were included, ranging from writing, type design and interviews to graphic layouts, sound/video and guest edited issues. In a broad way, this process could be brought into museum collections or other digital humanities projects to create communicative, alternative research tools.


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The Emigre Magazine Index is accessible to the public at
http://goldstein.design.umn.edu/collection/emigre/index.html


Funding for this project was provided by the Goldstein Museum of Design's
Jerome Joss Graduate Internship.



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The History and Future of Product Design


In a new course being offered at the University of Minnesota this spring, "The History and Future of Product Design" (PDes 3170), students from diverse majors across the University will spend the semester examining the key movements, figures, philosophies and technologies that have advanced the field of industrial/product design, and investigating how this historical foundation continues to inform and inspire the designers of today and tomorrow.


mies_brno_chair_starck_alessi_drskud.jpg left: Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich "Brno" chair (c. 1929-30) right: Philippe Starck for Alessi "Dr. Skud" fly swatter (1998)


Students will have opportunities throughout the semester to work hands-on with objects from the museum's collection and to explore firsthand the evolution of technology and the application of new materials and processes to everyday consumer goods. Students will then apply their understanding of these factors to forecast future trends and continuing developments in the fields of industrial and product design.


zeisel_tea_service.jpg Eva Zeisel for Castleton China "Museum White" tea service (1943)


Design graduate student Curt Lund, whose own research focus is on design history and collection, will be leading the class in activities that engage the meaning-making process of design history and underline the role of creativity, innovation, discovery, and expression across the discipline. "At the heart of this curriculum is a critical exploration of design and an understanding of what designed objects and environments can mean to consumers and their quality of life," Lund said. "The Goldstein is a perfect partner in this effort, as these ideas are also fundamental to the museum's own mission and vision."


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In the second semester of a year-long collaboration with the Goldstein Museum of Design, the "Goldstein Museum App" course (JOUR 4991/ ArtH 3940) will create content (text, video, photography, audio) for an iPad application that will allow the public to explore the museum's collection in a new and dynamic way. As students plan the app, they will focus on creating an intuitive user experience with multiple levels of interaction and engagement.


Taught by Camille LeFevre (arts journalist, college instructor, and editor of The Line), the course will allow students from departments across the University to collaborate. They will bring diverse skill sets including graphic design, video and audio shooting and production, art-historical research, writing and journalism, photography, UX (user experience) and UI (user interface) and interactive/immersive online/mobile environments, and app development to the process. Through feedback from the GMD staff throughout the semester, an app will be designed that will make the museum's collection accessible to a whole new audience.


Both courses are still open for registration. Sign up today!



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jackliebenberg.jpg A Monument to the Early Explorers of Minnesota, Jacob J. Liebenberg, ca. 1916, pen and ink wash mounted on heavy half inch thick board, 64.5x87in.


The College of Design's Drawing Archives contain more than 2,000 drawings by architecture students from the last hundred years. This overwhelming collection shows the range of projects that have interested students and faculty, as well as the changing views about architectural representation. Student work of the past, much like ours today, either followed the current trends within the field or reacted against them. The student drawings display the individual's style of representation and the common beliefs of each generation, which are visible in the architectural design as well as the compositional details.


observatory.jpg Observatory, P.W. Kilpatrick, 1927, ink wash, watercolor on paper, 63.9x96.8 in.


For example, the representation of trees in these drawings varies significantly through time. They show contemporary views about the use of color and line weight, as well as the preferred media. There is a distinct difference between the carefully clipped greenery of early 20th century drawings done in monotone washes and the vibrant globular trees that begin to appear in the 30s. During the 40s there is a stylistic split in the student work between the free-form umbrella style and angular geometric trees that transitions into the leafless stick trees of the 50s.


Gateway to a Great City.jpg Gateway to a Great City, Albert Ameson, 1939, watercolor on heavy board, 97x63.5 in.


The trees also display the students' beliefs about the role of nature in architecture through their relative scale when compared with the surrounding buildings and the choice of which drawings to show them in. Even the purposeful lack of trees in many mid-century projects indicates the priorities of architectural representation at that time.


visualartcenter.jpg Visual Art Center, T.J. Schlink, 1962-63, graphite, ink, watercolor, plastic on board, 76x101 in.


A selection of student drawings will be displayed on the second floor of Rapson Hall and in the Architecture Library during the Centennial Reunion, October 25-27. Pause to look at these drawings and let their details inspire your own representational style.


by Madelyn Sundberg, GDIII M. Arch & M.S. Heritage Conservation and Preservation candidate



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Mollie Parnis was a highly-respected New York-based designer who made a name for herself designing for the "well-to-do woman over thirty." Her clients - Hollywood icons, political figures, socialites, and first ladies - were also her friends. They comprised her "salons," gatherings of well-spoken, interesting people who met to discuss current affairs and the arts in Parnis' Park Avenue duplex. She stated that "being a designer is being a personality. It's creating a look you like, that your friends like, that belongs to the life that you know." This philosophy translated into dresses that were versatile, comfortable, and constructed from beautiful fabrics. Never trendy, her designs were often conservative interpretations of current trends. Practical as well as beautiful, a Parnis dress was made to last for several seasons. She was careful to note "that good designing doesn't mean dresses you have to throw away every year. Things shouldn't go out of date overnight."


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Mollie Parnis [American, 1905-1992], evening dress, c. 1950, rayon. Gift of Frances Anderson 1965.018.002a-b


This 1950s-era plaid rayon dress was designed in a shirtwaist style, a popular silhouette for the day. Women who wanted to look stylish and feminine in the home would adopt practical, comfortable dresses modeled after Dior's New Look. These housedresses featured neat lines, full, calf-length skirts, trim belts, and modest necklines. This dress, however, with its crisp, shimmery taffeta fabric, was more likely worn to run errands than to run a vacuum. In fact, the elegant fabric, dramatic neckline, and sleek lines meant it was suitable as cocktail or evening wear.


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The dress' beautiful construction is also a hallmark of Mollie Parnis' designs. The skirt is quite full, but inverted pleats minimize bulk at the waist and provide structure. Interesting shoulder details are expertly conceived; careful folds are constructed to lend dimension and drama to the shoulders. However, this unusual detail seems to go against Parnis' design philosophy. The norm in the early 1950s was to wear dresses with rounded or sloped shoulders; this exaggerated shoulder detail seems incongruous, even avant-garde. Although known for her conservative tendencies, Parnis' plaid rayon dress represents 1950s fashion as interpreted by a savvy designer who understood and respected her unique clients.


IMG_3642.jpgby Natasha Thoreson, Apparel Studies PhD candidate (minors in Museum Studies and Art History), GMD Collections Assistant


This blog is the first in a series by contributing writers who are pursuing graduate degrees in the College of Design. Graduate students will hone their research skills by investigating items from within the Goldstein Museum of Design's collection, then share their findings with the public on our blog. If you are a Grad Student at UMN and would like to participate in this project, contact Emily Marti at joh09665@umn.edu for more information.



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Mixtec Stonecutting Artistry: 16th Century Ribbed Vaults in Mixteca, Mexico is on display in the Goldstein Museum of Design's HGA Gallery at Rapson Hall through October 13th. Researcher and guest exhibition curator, Benjamin Ibarra Sevilla (Assistant Professor, Architecture, CDes) will be giving an opening lecture Monday, September 16, 6pm in Rapson Hall 100.


Nicholas Kramer, a UMN Architecture student, shares with us the process behind the 3D printing of the models of the vaults and their keystones in the exhibition.


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The models in the Mixtec Stonecutting exhibit are the product of many hours, many hands, and several different machines. Before the digital models existed, the only place to see these vaults was within their respective churches in Mexico. After many hours with a 3D scanner, they had literally been turned into clouds of points, inhabiting their respective places within a computer.


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From the point cloud data, digital models of each vault were constructed, and the keystones extracted. Building and refining these models to the exacting specifications of the 3D printer took many months. The 3D printer requires the models to be "water tight", meaning they must be a complete solid with no bare edges. This can be difficult in such complex pieces. Since each model is a different size and has a different degree of complexity, the time it takes to print each piece varies tremendously.


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Some of the pieces in the exhibit were printed overnight and took little interaction other than pressing the print button on the 3D printer, while others took upwards of two days to print and even longer to remove from the support material.

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The process of creating these models was a tremendous challenge, but ultimately proved to be an invaluable learning experience. The most exciting thing for us is that the models provide the opportunity to see and study something many would never have been exposed to otherwise.


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– by Nicholas J. Kramer, School of Architecture, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, B.D.A

Images courtesy of Nicholas Kramer and GMD.




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