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Start date: 08-05-2010
End date: 15-08-2010
Country: The Netherlands
City: Den Hague
Location: Gemeentemuseum


The exhibition NORM=FORM shows a world of standardisation in design, its ups and downs and ins and outs, and how standardized products influence our society.

By Editor / 07-06-2010

Standardisation and Design

From shoes and kitchen cupboards to coffee mugs and computer programs: they are all standardised. Never before have so many consumer products that surround us been the same. And that has many advantages. With its interchangeable parts and its conveyor belt production the T-Ford paved the way to an affordable car for everyone. Standardised clothing sizes offered affordable and well-fitting clothes to many.

The industrial demands for the development of standard types inspired designers like Dieter Rams and Piet Zwart, manufacturers like Braun and Thonet and educational institutions like Bauhaus to design good but cheap products. Standardised products also determine the social, cultural and even aesthetic norm. However, with its many (sub) cultures, society keeps changing. Therefore the product standards that have been set by governments and by standardisation organisations like DIN, in practice often swiftly become out of date.

Social, cultural and even aesthetic norms have a big influence on standardized products. With its many (sub) cultures however, society is constantly changing. In the 1950’s society was completely different than our multicultural society today. The standards for products that where implemented by the government, such as NEN, DIN, ASA and ISO, grow old in the daily practice. What are the consequences?

Highlights in the exhibition are designs from amongst others Dieter Rams, 2012Architecten, Charles and Ray Eames, Ettore Sottsass, Kisho Kurokawa, Paul Schuitema, Pierre Paulin, Wim Crouwel and Mario Bellini. Several are from the Centre Pompidou collection and have never been shown in the Netherlands before.

This exhibition forms part of the manifest The Hague Design and Government (Design Den Haag), that focuses on the relationship between design and government, in the field of public design, architecture and visual communication. Curated by Timo de Rijk, professor history of design at Delft University of Technology.

Gemeentemuseum Den Haag
8 May until 15 August 2010

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