Bookmark: "Disrespectful thoughts about design: Social, political and environmental values in Finnish design, 1960–1980"

Sebastian Greger


This dissertation by Kaisu Savola is as niche as it is fascinating (to me at least, having received my “designerly training” in the very institution that formalized the design profession in Finland):

In the field of design history, there is a shared understanding that the design profession was born alongside the capitalist ideology of maximising profit, and with the purpose of fulfilling industry’s needs to produce desirable products effectively. This doctoral dissertation explores a generation of design students and design professionals in Finland, in the 1960s and 1970s, as they became aware of the two contradictory faces of design: one that is complicit in overproduction, overconsumption and social inequality, and the other capable of examining and addressing the very same issues it has co-created. This awareness prompted the development of design education and professional design practice not dictated by the values and expectations of industry or commerce, but shaped by feelings of social responsibility, environmental concerns and politically leftist motivations.