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Design, Nature, and Revolution

Toward a Critical Ecology

2019
Author:

Tomás Maldonado
Foreword by Larry Busbea

Design, Nature, and Revolution

A landmark text in design discourse for a world desperately in need of redesign—back in print

Tomás Maldonado examines the role design plays during a moment of crisis and analyzes what “design” might mean as an ever-enlarging compass beyond stylization of specific objects. Written as a kind of obituary to the Modern movement’s failed “concrete utopias,” Maldonado combines philosophy, sociology, radical countercultural thought, and the ecological sciences into a polemic that recenters design in the human environment.

This is an original philosophical polemic that teaches concepts, convinces us of the validity of revolutionary planning and action, and makes a crucial redefinition of the relationship between utopia and human reality.

—Hermann Rebel, York University, Toronto

What good is design? In a world facing social unrest, political tribalism, and impending ecological doom, Tomás Maldonado poses philosophical inquiries into the role design plays during a moment of crisis and analyzes what “design” might mean as an ever-enlarging compass beyond stylization of specific objects. He discusses how design is both influenced by and central to ecological crisis. Written as a kind of obituary to the Modern movement’s wave of failed “concrete utopias,” Maldonado combines philosophy, sociology, radical countercultural thought, and the ecological sciences into a polemic that recenters design in the human environment.

Design, Nature, and Revolution

Tomás Maldonado is an Argentine painter, designer, and intellectual. He was professor of environmental design at Politecnico di Milano University and is considered one of the most significant design thinkers of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

Larry Busbea is associate professor of art history at the University of Arizona, Tucson, and author of Topologies: The Urban Utopia in France, 1960–1970.

Design, Nature, and Revolution

Design, Nature, and Revolution is a brilliant example of how to handle large-scale ideas in compact arguments.

ARTFORUM

Seventy pages of brisk essays and fifty-five pages of notes: Maldonado writes this book with the speed of a polemic and the resources of a thesis. He argues that only a sophisticated reform of the designed environment, using the most developed methods, is adequate, and he dismisses the simplifying theories of alienation and the slogans of ecology.

The Nation

This is an original philosophical polemic that teaches concepts, convinces us of the validity of revolutionary planning and action, and makes a crucial redefinition of the relationship between utopia and human reality.

—Hermann Rebel, York University, Toronto

Design, Nature, and Revolution

Contents
Foreword: Maldonado’s Environment
Larry Busbea
Preface to the American Edition
Preface
1. Environment, Nature, Alienation
2. Human Ecology and Dialectic of the Concrete
3. Rationality and Repression
4. New Utopians
5. Design, Planning, and Politics
6. Explosive Congestion
7. Discards, Residues, Dross
8. Desperate Hope
9. Reality of Mesocosmos
10. Labyrinth of Complexity
11. Deurbanization and Desocialization
12. The Idea of System
13. Revolution and Strategy of Innovation
14. Spontaneous Action and Power
15. Las Vegas and the Semiological Abuse
16. Toward a Praxiology of Design
Postscript
Notes
Index

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About E-books

Available in April 2019