Nonobject about the design philosophy of Branko Lukic." /> Nonobject about the design philosophy of Branko Lukic." />

John Thackara | Essays

This is Not an Object

This is not an object:

And neither are these:

Well I know they “look” like objects, but that's because you have not read a new book called Nonobject about the design philosophy of Branko Lukic.

Branko's collaborator on the book, Barry Katz, cites respected commentators in support of his proposition that although these images appear to depict objects, they do not. Among the experts called on are: Claude Debussy, Dieter Rams, Ettore Sottsass, Charles Eames, Philippe Starck, Louis Sullivan, Alvar Aalto, Antonio SaintElia, Filippo Marinetti, Pablo Picasso, Jorge Luis Borges, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, René Magritte, Alexander Rodchenko, Friedrich Nietzsche, Claude Lévi Strauss, Leonardo Da Vinci, Beethoven, James Joyce, Walter Benjamin, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Plato, Michelangelo, Pablo Neruda, Ortega Y Gasset, John Donne, Le Corbusier and Sosigenes of Alexandria.

Speaking of calendars (Sosigenes was a calendar designer} it's now 22 years since I, too, did a book about design along the lines of Nonobject. Mine was called Design After Modernism: Beyond The Object. Now it's not that I'm bitter and envious — Oh no — but back then, nobody compared my philosophy to Goethe, Wittgenstein or Nietzsche. If the truth be told, the number of people who noticed the book at all was modest.

In retrospect, I made a strategic error. My book about design beyond the object contained words, but no gorgeous pictures of nonobjects. Perhaps if I had included more gorgeous images like this one:

People would have understood what I was getting at.

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Emils Rode

Jobs | May 26