Max Bill: Form (1952)

Form: a balance sheet of mid-twentieth century trends in design (1952)
20/09/10 – Selections from Max Bill’s Form: a balance sheet of mid-twentieth century trends in design published in 1952 by Verlag Karl Werner, Basel.

Many of the images included in Bill’s book come from the 1949 traveling exhibition Die Gute Form (Good Design) organized on behalf of the Swiss Werkbund. It includes everything from natural phenomena and industrial tools to sculpture and commercial goods, from architecture and urban planning to children’s toys.

From the introductory essay:
This is primarily a picture book laying no claim to completeness or balance. It illustrates things that evince a remarkable degree of perfection, or embody some idea capable of further development. In fact, it is really a kind of survey from the compiler’s personal standpoint of the evolution of form towards the middle of the Twentieth Century.

Form: a balance sheet of mid-twentieth century trends in design (1952)
Diatomaceous deposits and pyrite crystals
Model of a latex molecule and a benzine molecule
Models of mathematical formulae
Works of 'concrete' art
Ships propelor and parts of a routing-cutter
Time-pieces and a compact desk telephone with switchboard
Projector and Hallicrafters radio
'Hermag' and 'Patria' typewriters
Traditional dairy ladles and stainless ladles by Walter Franke
Dish by Maurice Heaton and vases by Alvar Aalto
Lamp and hairbrush by Max Bill
Stools by Alvar Aalto and chairs by Hans Coray
Three-legged table and chairs and table by Florence Knoll
Wooden toys by A. Vitali
Wooden toys
Rover car and "Valiant" bomber
Bridges by Kassle and Luks and Maillart
Aluminium roofing and reinforced concrete building
Rockerfeller Centre and Brazilian Ministry of Public Health & Education
Le Corbusier and Ludwid Mies van der Rohe
Buildings by Richard Neutra and Philip Johnson
Sources and related information
Images from Max Bill’s Form on Flickr//

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Oliver Tomas

  • Design historian and archivist based in Vancouver, Canada.
  • info[at]olivertomas[dot]com