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The Ice Palace That Melted Away

How Good Design Enhances Our Lives

2000
Author:

Bill Stumpf

The Ice Palace That Melted Away

A playful look at how effective design can restore civility, community, and joy to modern society-now in paperback!

In Bill Stumpf’s incisive book, he argues that good design is not about fashion, but about quality of life. The ice palace of the title refers to an elaborate construction built in St. Paul in 1992; for Stumpf, this castle symbolizes a sense of community and a love of play that has been lost in the wake of America’s quest for speed and efficiency.

From products that last a lifetime to integrating design with nature, Stumpf’s ideas are a refreshing reminder of the life-improving possibilities of design.

Design Issues

In Bill Stumpf’s incisive book, he argues that good design is not about fashion, but about quality of life. The ice palace of the title refers to an elaborate construction built in St. Paul in 1992; for Stumpf, this castle symbolizes a sense of community and a love of play that has been lost in the wake of America’s quest for speed and efficiency. Among his pet peeves are cramped airplanes, run-down taxis, aspirin bottle caps, malls, burglar alarms, and grocery bags with no handles. Things don’t have to be this way, he assures us, as he offers many whimsical and practical alternatives.

"In a sometimes rambling, occasionally crotchety, often nostalgic, but consistently engaging book, Stumpf exhorts us to recapture those qualities that he classifies as ‘civility.’" Publishers Weekly

"Some of the best moments in Stumpf’s small book of reflections come in his doubts about the work of colleagues who believe that doing something has got to be better than just standing there." Los Angeles Times

"A creative plea for better design." Washington Post

Translation Inquiries: Pantheon

The Ice Palace That Melted Away

Bill Stumpf is the designer of, among other products, the Aeron chair, which is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

The Ice Palace That Melted Away

From products that last a lifetime to integrating design with nature, Stumpf’s ideas are a refreshing reminder of the life-improving possibilities of design.

Design Issues

A creative plea for better design.

Washington Post

The Ice Palace that Melted is a genteel and generous piece of writing—and it deserves your attention and your affection.

Folio