Chasing The Perfect
Thoughts On Modernist Design In Our Time
By Natalia Ilyin. Foreword by Susan S. Szenasy.
In Chasing the Perfect writer/designer Natalia Ilyin delivers her astute, incisive and humorous observations on design and the world it has molded. According to Ilyin, “Modern design is based on deeply idealist notions, and its inherent perfectionism has dovetailed beautifully with our commodity-based economy’s need to keep people itching so that they will buy things and keep the society chugging along. I began Chasing the Perfect because I started to become aware of this collusion, this silent pressure that a language of design based in perfectionism had brought to bear on how I developed as a person.” Chasing the Perfect is especially relevant in our times as interest in graphic, industrial and architectural design moves more and more into mainstream culture. Each of the ten chapters features Ilyin’s accessible and often hilarious writing, which is highlighted with a broad range of images–some quite unexpected–from the designed world around us. An excerpt: “The choices that designers and architects have made in the last hundred years silently mold us, silently direct us through the tunnels of Penn Station or up to the fifty-third floor of the Sears Tower. But they direct more than our movements. They direct us to notice one thing and not another, to value one thing over another, to identify with one thing rather than with another. Modernism, the guts of it, the strength of it, the egotistic beauty of it, carries with it effects we did not expect and fosters attitudes about ourselves and others that may have been dandy in a utopia, but do little good in our world. Why have we not changed this idea, moved on with our thinking? For even after the disbanding of the Bauhaus, the disintegration of the International Style, the exhausting of postmodernism, we’re all still chasing the perfect.”