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Design, Nature, and Revolution

Toward a Critical Ecology

2019
Author:

Tomás Maldonado
Foreword by Larry Busbea

Design, Nature, and Revolution

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

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

Remains a significant touchstone for leftist design scholars tackling eco-political problems and the counterculture.

Simon Sadler, Room One Thousand

To design in an environment is to design an environment. Design, Nature, and Revolution is an intense reckoning with both the impossibility and inevitability of this state of affairs.

Larry Busbea, from the Foreword

Design, Nature, and Revolution