Title: Diary, News and Letters
Pages: 67, 69, 71
Text: Diary, News and Letters
The Design Centre: special displays include Here's How: Design for Watney Mann Ltd on the mezzanine floor until July 30, and Shopping in Britain from July 4-September 3. The Centre is open on weekdays from 9.30 am-5.30 pm, and on Wednesdays and Thursdays until 9 pm
Ships' Gear international '66, Olympia, July 6-12
SIA Designers' Ball, Hurlingham Club, July 13
International Laundry, Dry Cleaning and Allied Trades Exhibition, Olympia, July 14-23
Industrial Cleansing and Maintenance Trades Fair Olympia,July20-23
SCOTLAND Glasgow, the Scottish Design Centre, 46 West George Street: displays include a Sports Exhibition from July 4-24. The Centre is open on weekdays from 10 am-5 pm (late evenings arranged for parties)
THE PROVINCES Exeter, West of England Gifts Exhibition, Civic Hall, July 4-8
Harrogate, Harrogate Gift Fair, Royal Hall,etc. July 18-21
Gloucester, Ideal Homes Exhibition Gloucester Park, July 23-August 6
OVERSEAS Moscow, British Industrial Exhibition, July 8-24
New York, International Book Exhibition, July 14-17
San Francisco, Western Packaging Exhibition, July 19-21
Lusaka, Zambia Exhibition and Agricultural Show, July30-August1
CONFERENCES International gathering The 1966 ColD Design Congress will be held at the Royal Garden Hotel, Kensington High Street, London W8, on October 12-13. The theme this year will be Profit by Design - ie, technological innovation, the central role of the industrial designer in product development and the necessary follow through into marketing. The congress will be addressed by members of important commercial and industrial organisations at home and abroad. The speakers include Count Sigvard Bernadotte, industrial design consultant (Sweden), Dr Trangott Malzan, Braun AG (West Germany), F. D. Penny, deputy director, National Engineering Laboratory, and Dr J. A. P. Treasure, director, J. Walter Thompson Co Ltd. The congress is open to directors and senior executives of companies, and to a limited number of scientists, technologists and industrial designers. The Times will be producing a special supplement to coincide with the opening of the congress on October 12.
Architects converge The annual conference of the Royal Institute of British Architects will be held this year at Trinity College, Dublin, from September 10-13. Speakers include Professor Colin Buchanan, and Dr P. A. Stone of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research. The conference fee is £6. Registration forms, which should be returned by August 1, are available from the chief clerk, RlBA, 66 Portland Place, London W1.
Finnish seminar. The annual international seminar on architecture and design, which has been held in Finland for the past two years in conjunction with the Jyvaskyla Arts and Music Festival, takes place this year from July 10-16. Lecturers include Finnish and Japanese architects and designers. The fee for full participation is £17 (students £11 7s 6d). Details are available from the Finlandia Travel Agency Ltd, Finland House, 56 Haymarket, London SW1.
PUBLICATION New yearbook The 1966 edition of the British Standards Yearbook has now been published. The book, which is complete up to December 31, 1965, gives a list of the 5,000 British Standards and Codes of Practice which have been published, with a brief summary of each one. It also contains general information about the British Standards Institution and its offices, officials, membership and services. The publications of international standards, which were covered in previous editions of the yearbook, are now dealt with by a separate Supplement. The first edition of this Supplement was published last November and is still available. Copies of the BS Yearbook and the Supplement, which are issued free to subscribing members of BSI, are available from the BSI sales office, 2 Park Street, London W1. The prices are: Yearbook, 15s (postage as extra); Supplement, 7s 6d (postage 9d extra).
COMPETITIONS Office signs The Stainless Steel Development Association has organised a competition for the design of a system of office signs which would enable visitors to find their way easily around an office block. It is proposed that the winning system, which must be primarily of stainless steel, should be put into production. A prize of £525 will be awarded to the winning designer: the judges may also give another prize of £105 for any other design of particular merit, or they may divide the prize money between the winners. The judges will be H. W. G. Hignett, Professor Misha Black and Anthony Williams, and the competition is open to designers, architects and students. All enquiries should be received by the Stainless Steel Development Association, 7 Old Park Lane, London W1, by July 30, and entries by September 30.
Tile design The Italian firm Cedit, in conjunction with the Associazione per il Disegno Industrial, has organised an international competition. Awards will be made for a scheme in ceramic lining tiles, and for a series of bathroom or kitchen fittings to be realised in ceramics. The awards will take the form of a gold shield (first prize), a silver shield (second prize), and diplomas to three other winning entries. Details of the competition can be obtained from Cedit, Concorso Piastrella d'Oro, via De Amicis 44, Milan. The competition closes on July 31.
MISCELLANEOUS Student work An exhibition of the first year's work of the experimental printing workshop the School of Art Watford College of Technology, will be held from August 3-20 at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, 17-18 Dover Street, London W1.Work shown will range from the straightforward translation of informational text into type, to the use of prefabricated typographical material to make non-verbal visual images.
Design Index, the ColD's photographic and sample record of well designed British products, can be seen at The Design Centre, London, the Scottish Design Centre, Glasgow, the Manchester Design Centre, the Midland Building and Design Centre, Nottingham, and Liverpool Building and Design Centre Ltd.
Who's doing what Harry Potter has resigned his post as chief designer to Pel Ltd to take up a new appointment as head of the faculty of three dimensional design at the Wolverhampton College of Art. Bob Gill has resigned from the partnership of Crosby/Fletcher/Forbes/Gill in order to concentrate on his own work.
Appointments M. W. Tomkinson, a director of Tomkinsons Ltd, has been appointed a member of the Council, ColD D.
F. E. Charlton has been appointed ColD Assessor at the Department of Education and Science.
ColD change Major General Jack Benoy, who has been with the ColD since 1949, is leaving this month. Major General Benoy's original appointment was to the industrial division as organiser of the exhibits for the Festival of Britain exhibitions. In 1956 he became the first manager of The Design Centre.
Group Captain Pitt, below, who has been appointed the new manager of The Design Centre, served with the Royal Air Force from 1939-1966. Between 1958-61 he was a member of the directing staff and group director of the RAF Staff College, and since 1961 he has commanded two air navigation schools and an air transport station.
This month's cover was designed by George Daulby, below. Mr Daulby studied at the Central School of Arts and Crafts. He has taught at the Royal College of Art, and he is now a partner in BDMW Associates.
AGENDA Ten years of Design Centre Awards, 209/62: the Formation Furniture office desk units, below, made by Bath Cabinet Makers Ltd, and the Strawberry Hill tableware, below, made by Wedgwood and Sons Ltd, were incorrectly stated to be out of production. Formation Furniture is available in a modified version. We apologize for any inconvenience which may have been caused by this.
The odd ergonomic inch and why it matters in the office, 208/38-44: the introductory photograph to this article, which illustrated the desk shown at the top of the next column, implied that the desk did not conform to the British Standard recommended height for office desks. In fact, the desk conforms in all respects to the BS recommendations. We regret this error and apologise to the makers, Design Furnishing Contracts Ltd, and to the designer, Roland Gibbard for any inconvenience which it may have caused.
Ward planning and equipment, 207/41: ancillary equipment for the hospital bed shown in illustration 15 was designed by three students of the RCA school of industrial design (engineering). They were: T. Coward and G. A. Lynn (locker unit), and A. Smalihorn (services and lighting unit).
Designers and manufacturers lists in this issue appear on page 80.
The responsibility for clutter
Sir: The obvious answer to the question posed in the item headed What's Wrong with These Pictures ? (DESIGN 209/26) - which is concerned with a clutter of junction boxes, fuse boxes, etc - is the lack of visual co-ordination. There are, however, certain very real difficulties which stand in the way of achieving an integrated, modular and unobtrusive range of these units.
In the first place, some responsibility rests with whoever placed the melange of unrelated units together. This, in most cases, would be the electricity authority board for the area in which the building lies. To judge by the different standards of appearance in equipment up and down the country, there is little national visual co-ordination between the various area electricity boards. These area boards could come to some agreement among themselves in laying down modular and co-ordinated systems for mounting these units. At present, their actions are more governed by the economics of buying the separate units-they place the fuse box of one firm next to the meter of another. It is, to a certain extent, inevitable that they should do this, since each firm may be so big in its own particular line that it dominates the market in terms of competitive price.
continued on page 71...
The manufacturers of the units, though sometimes guilty of producing indifferent design from a visual point of view, have in many cases given considerable thought to producing schemes for well related components. However, if the users select units from different firms, then disunity may result when they are placed together.
In my view, visual co-ordination will not be achieved until a large purchasing organisation such as a Central Electricity Authority, or a large manufacturer, lays down a systematic and visually co-ordinated requirement in the design specification. R. H. Litherland, department of art and industrial design, Salford Technical College
CWS design policy Sir: I cannot agree with the assumption made in D. Worthington's letter (design 210/67) that the fact that the Co-operative Wholesale Society design panel is made up of board and management would necessarily frustrate the creativity of the design officer when he is appointed. Indeed, it is just as easy to argue that to have a committee of specialists responsible for a department with a specialist in charge often creates conflict, in the sense that many specialists, whatever their particular and related role, cannot help feeling competitive in the professional sense.
In any case, it is the intention of the CWS to develop its design policy and its central design department under the control of the design officer on the basis of the professional advice that the latter will give, having some sensible regard to expenditure and the overall policy of the organisation. K. Noble, CWS Ltd, London E1
To snap or not to snap Sir: Though we are only too pleased to receive criticisms about our door furniture, l would like to point out that the author of the article headed At Last - British Door Furniture Gets Co-ordinated ( DESIGN 208/32-37) was quite wrong in stating that the cover plates of the Sadler range of door furniture can be snapped on and off by hand.
When the goods are sent out, a label attached to the back plate reminds those who fit the furniture to be sure to put the back plate on before fixing the cover plate. The reason for this is that when the cover plate is fixed, it can only be removed by the use of a screwdriver. If the cover plates were easy to remove by snapping on and off by hand, there could be a considerable amount of trouble. They could be removed by children! for instance, and lost.
We have, in fact, taken great care in the design of this door furniture to see that coyer plates when fixed are secure. A. Ward, managing director, B. Lilly & Sons Ltd
No simple solution Sir: There is much general interest in the design of offfice furniture. The publication of progressive British Standards for office desks, tables and seating, for school furniture and for industrial seating has contributed to the spread of knowledge as well as interest. It is therefore unfortunate that in The odd ergonomic inch and why it matters in the office (DES IGN 208/38-44), Dorothy Meade, in urging a viewpoint about desk design, gives the impression that there is a battle between ergonomists and others, and that the majority of my committee must be numbered among the others.
The BSI set up in 1957 an advisory committee on anthropometric evidence for equipment dimensions. Its reports, written by Dr Floyd and Dr Roberts, dealt with basic principles (BS 3044) and two particular aspects of design - non adjustable office desks, chairs and tables (BS 3079) and office machine operators' chairs and desks (BS 3404). Dr Floyd also wrote the introduction to the Standard for office desks, tables and seating (BS 3893). This introduction explains the problems - and here I must emphasise that a study of these documents will reveal that there is no simple universal solution. It is not a simple case of there being a best standard size, which is being largely ignored. Some people actually need a 29 inch high desk!
The Standard deals with four main categories of desk. Different dimensions are appropriate for each of these. In addition, no single desk height can possibly suit all people. l suggest that the intention of the Standard, which was to clarify the basic requirements, and encourage designers, users and manufacturers to think along new lines, has been successful to the extent that could have been anticipated, allowing for ignorance and conservatism. Some manufactures are now offering office furniture which complies with the anthropometric requirements of people in this country. It must, however, be remembered that there is a large export trade and that furniture intended for export should comply with requirements in other countries, where the sizes of people are different. This is an additional complication.
The challenge to designers who study the problem, and to manufacturers who are prepared to face up to it, is to provide a range of desk sizes appropriate to a variety of office functions and a variety of people performing them. It is now generally agreed that an office chair should be adjustable. In time, it may come to be agreed that work surface heights must be adjustable also. This is certainly in the future, but standardisation on one height for any given function would, l suggest, tend to freeze the situation on a compromise.
There is need for greater understanding of the cost of not doing more to meet the anthropometric requirements. Unfortunately, loss of efficiency and fatigue are difficult to measure. But if the extra cost of a better desk and chair is examined in terms of annual cost and compared with the cost of salaries, it should be obvious that money spent on buying or retaining unsuitable offce furniture is money wasted.
Those who, like Mrs Meade, realise that impressive but ill designed furniture is doing active harm and causing actual loss of output are as yet a small minority - hence the fact that manufacturers still meet the market demand for the sort of furniture people are used to. It will not help this situation, however, to suggest that problems of furniture design are really very simple and can be overcome by adopting a few set dimensions. There are still areas in which further application of anthropometric and ergonomic studies is necessary and is proceeding. There is room for experiment in the various ways of tackling certain problems -the provision of correct lumbar support and of appropriate seat-to-work-surface height relationship, for instance. Buyers and designers certainly need to be better informed than at
present. Careful study of the BSI recommendations will help them. F. H. A. Bex, chairman, BSI Technical Committee, OEM/1 on Offlce Desks, Tables and Seating
Mis-statement over modules Sir: In reproducing my letter, under the heading A Question of Modules (DESIGN 210/67) the phrase "the national module" was unfortunately introduced. May I make it clear that BS 4011 sets out a system of preference for selecting sizes, but does not standardise a specific module. M. D. Clarke, chief technical officer for the co-ordination of dimensions in building, BSI