Situated in the context of Karl Marx’s industrial England, the field of design met philosophical proscription in alternative responses to use of natural materials. Social life associated with the emergence of the Industrial Era, soon gave way utopian dreams, and the Arts and Crafts Movement was borne.
19th Century Arts and Crafts Movement
In his book Utopia, Sir Thomas More (1893) crafted one such response in direct confrontation with what he perceived to be the harshness of industrialism, and solution in the pastoral vision of a future gone back to nature. Following the utopian socialist work of Marx and More, William Morris (1890) News From Nowhere substantiates the ideological tenets of his political thought, and influence on the Arts & Crafts movement in the decorative arts through his portfolio of design and textile applications to book covers, furniture and wallpapers.
The popularity of eighteenth century Japanese wood block prints also influenced Morris, as did nature, as he sought solution to industrial incursions permeating his society. Here, art is work, art is Ideologue, and art is replication of self and society for mass consumption. Here, public art of the Industrial Age, and more specifically the architecture of the World Exhibition identified fin-de-síecle capitalism with the tenets of historical materialist philosophy.
A third formation in the logics of Marxist ideas about the material means to production, Morris Benjamin and others sought to exhibit the dislocation of human creativity; whereby base meets superstructure in a utopian dream space. Influenced by the use of steel and industrial technology in construction and engineered design of public infrastructure, the International Style was borne out of the International Exhibition of Paris of 1889, where the centenary commemoration of the French Revolution was unanimously selected in Gustave Eiffel’s work, better known as the Eiffel Tower.
20th Century Convergence
The organic symposia of built environment in public and private space is well acknowledged in design theory of the 20th century. The popularity of steel construction incorporated in arboretum structures at the World Exhibitions evidences the social influence of public infrastructure on leisure activities during the period. The arboretum served as natural spaces for promenade, offering access to the exoticism of lush species of plants, as well as the legacy of colonial structures like the Crystal Palace in London, imported from India, and reconstructed in the West.
21st Century Wood Wall Coverings
Manufactured textile and wood wall coverings exhibit the convergence of industry and nature in the 19th and 20th centuries. Decorate in the Arts and Crafts style with wood wall coverings.