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News

Joint planning by British and Dutch

Britain and the Netherlands are to cooperate on matters of housing, planning and construction. In a Memorandum of Understanding signed recently by Julian Amery, Minister for Housing and Construction, and Bernard Udink, Netherlands Minister of Housing and Environmental Planning, the two countries agreed to exchange documents and visits, and consider joint research projects. Areas for cooperation will include regional planning, housing policy and financing, new towns, urban renewal and construction technology.

New DADA president

Peter Mayle, creative director of the Batten Barton Durstine and Osborn advertising agency, has been elected president of the Designers' and Art Directors' Association.
Edward Booth-Clibborn, executive chairman of the association, told the annual meeting that DADA had had "a remarkably good year" and continued to make a profit. It could now proceed to expand its educational programme, he said.

DUNLOPILLO AWARD 1973

Prizes totalling 1 500 are offered in the 1973 Dunlopillo Design Award - again an open project for any item designed to incorporate Dunlopillo latex or Dunlopreme and DP neomorphic polyurethane flexible foams.
The competition is open to practising artists, industrial or interior designers, architects, engineers, consultancy partnerships and students at home and abroad. Closing date for enrolments is 5 February, with further information obtainable from Dunlopllo, Pannal, Harrogate, Yorkshire HG3 1BR.


Supermarkets criticised over fire precautions

Some supermarket managements appear to be "unaware of their responsibilities in relation to safety provisions in case of fire," says the 1971 report* on the workings of the Offices, Shops and Railway Premises Act. Authorities administering the Act found exits blocked by display cases, baskets and discarded boxes and fire doors wedged permanently open, the report says. And in some cases, fire doors were locked, the keys were not available and staff were unaware of what to do in the event of fire.
This situation exists despite continued progress in the registration of office and shop premises as having means of escape in case of fire. Sixty per cent of office and shops (95 284) now have certificates of adequate fire exits of which over 15 000 were certified during 1971.
Supermarkets were found deficient in several other areas of employee safety. They were criticised for having dual standards of lighting - very good in areas where the public had access and inadequate in store-rooms and passages used by staff. The report points out the effect this could have on standards of hygiene and adds that too great a variation in lighting between different areas means a danger that staff passing from a brightly lit environment may not be able to adjust quickly enough to see stair treads and obstructions which could cause injury.
A spokesman for the Multiple Shops Federation, representing many supermarket operators, refused to comment on the implications of the report, but a spokesman for the Retail Distributors Association, representing 110 members with 500 department stores, said: "We pointed out the implications of the report to our members although we feel most of the comments are directed at smaller supermarket operations. They are certainly interesting to some of the members who are starting up supermarket type food halls. Certainly as far as fire regulations are concerned the department stores have been in the vanguard of attempts to raise standards".
Another problem the report highlights is the extension of the subdued lighting currently favoured in public rooms to the bar service areas of public houses and restaurants. The report considers this move increases risks of injury to staff.

*The Offices, Shops and Railway Premises Act 1963; Report by the Secretary of State for Employment for the year ended 31 December 1971, HMSO 261/2p.

WALKER SETS OUT ENVIRONMENT PRINCIPLES

The decision to draw up a common environmental policy among the nine members of the enlarged European Community - announced after the recent European summit in Paris - has been welcomed by Peter Walker, Secretary of State for the Environment until last month's government reshuffle. Speaking in Bonn to a meeting of environmental ministers from the Nine, Mr Walker urged that "we must avoid numerous conferences and meetings at which ministers and officials spend a great deal of time pontificating upon environmental matters."
Mr Walker put forward four principles on which he hoped the community would reach swift agreement - an agreement by governments to invest more effort in environmental protection in Europe; a far greater application of technology to environmental problems common to Europe; the adoption of the principle that those who cause the pollution pay the cost of clearing it up; the attainment of agreement at community level on long term objectives.

Museum project for DRU

Design Research Unit has been commissioned by the Department of the Environment to redesign the entrance hall to the British Museum.

Kitchen scale wins Living award

The 1972 Living Award for Good Design, sponsored jointly by Living magazine and the Design Council, has been won by the Weighmix kitchen scale made by Salter Housewares, Llanelli. Seven other products in five categories - electrical appliances, floor coverings, wall coverings, furnishing textiles and furniture - earned certificates in this year's competition for products which are notable in combining value for money and good design.
The Conelight QWXI wall light and the Rank Bush Murphy V 2090 monochrome tv set shared the certificate for the best electrical appliance - the tv, by RBM staff designer Maurice Kirkpatrick, is the first in Britan to use rigid polyurethane foam for the cabinet moulding. Tankard Carpets' Phoenician range Bri Nylon Wilton carpet gained the floorcovering certificate, and Anna Caldwell and Bernat Klein's pure wool curtaining range of six fabrics, the City Scene collection, by Margo Fabrics was nominated best furnishing textile. The unusual Arkana Orbita easy chair, which is sold packed flat in four easily assembled components, won the furniture certificate although the judging team felt a special commendation for value for money was due to Remploy's nest of three pine tables. The best wallcovering was judged to be a jute covered paper from the Muraweave range by Boyle & Son.

(caption)
The Living award-winner, the Salter Weighmix, and the Rank Bush Murphy tv


SIAD TO EXAMINE DESIGNERS' ROLE

The Society of Industrial Artists and Designers is taking the theme "Design for the quality of life" for its annual conference at Nash House on 31 March and 1 April next year.
Among other topics, there will be a discussion of the fact that designers' success in persuading industry and commerce increasingly to employ their services has brought a reaction among influential sections of society to what they see as an insidious growth of materialism. The SIAD says: "The pressures on consumers created by advertising, the beguiling attraction of face-lifted products which are otherwise unchanged, and the creation of new hazards from pollution, overcrowding and speed, are seen as undesirable consequences of industrialisation in which the designer has been a more than willing partner.
"So the missionary who set out to improve the quality of life is now in danger of becoming the ogre who systematically is setting about destroying it." This situation, the SIAD says, has produced for the design profession a "crisis of conscience" which many practitioners feel now requires serious examination.
Guest speakers will include Katharine Whitehorn, Dame Margaret Miles (headmistress of Mayfield School, Putney) and Lord Kennett.

1 000 prizes in product competition

A national design competition for products made by handicapped people and sold to the public is being run by MERIT (Merseyside Industrial Therapy Services), a charitable organisation set up in 1968 to provide factory-type work to improve the condition of the handicapped.
The competition, offering prizes totalling 1 000, is the first of its kind and is open to design students.
Entries will be judged by a panel headed by Sir Roger Falk, president of the Design and Industries Association and chairman of the Furniture Development Council.

Audio equipment chosen by museum

The Museum of Modern Art in New York has chosen seven Bang and Olufsen audio products for its Permanent Design Collection - the first time so many products have been chosen from a single manufacturer.
The products from the Danish company are the Beosystem 1200 and 3000 stereo systems and two transistor radios, the Beolit 400 and 1000.

Design index
A full index of names and addresses of manufacturers whose products are mentioned on the editorial pages is on page 82.

Design Council information head

John E. Blake, head of the Design Council's training and professional services and a former editor of DESIGN magazine, has been appointed head of the Council's information division.
He succeeds Michael Tree, who has left to become deputy general manager of publications at the BBC.

PEAK PARK COURSES
A new type of residential study centre is being opened in the Peak District National Park, aimed at helping everyone who wants to understand or study the environment of the Peak District in all its aspects.
The centre, at Losehill Hall near Castleton Village, has been provided by the Peak Park Planning Board and will offer a wide range of courses.

Danish design group in trouble

The future of the Selskabet for Industrial Formgivning (the Danish Society of Industrial Design) looked bleak last month after the last minute breakdown of merger talks between the SIF and the Danish Society of Arts and Crafts.
The SIF, which manages a small exhibition space off Copenhagen's pedestrianised shopping street, the Stroget, has never enjoyed State support. Successive governments have taken the line that that official propaganda would be superfluous in design-conscious Denmark
Now that the funds have dried up, and the merger with the craftsmen has fallen through, it looks as though the SIF will be forced to abandon its showroom and become a learned society.

BART gets $38m government aid

Two-thirds of the funds required to complete the 75-mile San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system have been contributed by the US Department of Transportation in a $38 million grant. This, the seventh capital grant to the BART authorities, brings the central government's share in the $14 billion scheme up to $178 million. The new finance will finish the remaining BART construction work along San Francisco's Market Street which will initially be used by San Francisco Railway stock until they are totally integrated into the BART scheme.
The grant will also help finance capital improvements like rail transit car washers, furniture for station halts, increased coverage of the signs and symbols system, and a computerised data acquisition organisation.

General Motors offers rotary engine

First Ford and now General Motors have announced developmental work on rotary engines. Ford, which is hedging its bet on the Wankel with simultaneous development of the Stirling hot-air engine and a steam engine, hasn't set any date for commercial production of non-piston powerplants. But GM has indicated that as many as 50 000 of its 1975 Chevrolet Vega models will be offered with rotary engines of the Wankel type.
GM's eagerness to get a rotary-engine vehicle on the market clearly indicates that Detroit competition has taken a new direction - a full-speed retreat from the smog-belching piston engine. GM is believed to be working on an entirely new line of cars designed round the rotary engine.
The new cars - expected to be on the market in three or four years - could have greatly reduced exterior dimensions compared to present models, but provide more interior space for passengers and baggage. GM is said to favour a twin-rotor version of the Wankel that would develop about 200 horsepower.

Tayside symbol wanted

The Tayside Development Authority has launched a competition for the design of a symbol for the Tayside. It will be used for all possible applications, including letterheadings, booklets, advertisements and film strips. The competition will be open to everyone with no restrictions as to age, profession or nationality
Closing date is 15 December, and entry forms are obtainable from the Tayside Development Officer, City Chambers, Dundee.

Scottish students' work on show

The Schools of Art exhibition, opened in October at the Scottish Design Centre in Glasgow by Hector Monro, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Scotland, showed work from the Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen art colleges - and they presented an image of reality which was refreshing, exciting and encouraging.
There was little "way out" design; in its place, carefully considered products which underlined no mean ability in craftsmanship related to sound common sense production. Most of the disciplines in the colleges were represented in this deliberately selective exhibition which was seen by more than 70 000 visitors, many of whom were industrialists.
The ceramics from Aberdeen were unexpectedly delicate and the degree of perfection in design and manufacture attained is not often seen in students' work. Glasgow with its long history of exceptional standards in embroidery displayed several examples of this precise and colourful craft. Jewelry from all three Colleges was technically good and optically attractive showing considerable strength of character in design. The originality of the graphics from authographic prints, book illustrations to television graphics and commercial print, gave an impression of great versatility - this was particularly true of Edinburgh.

Gift idea

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People

Lord Kearton is to succeed Lord Beeching as president of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents from April 1973
J E Hannigan has been appointed Department of the Environment regional director for the West Midlands and chairman of the West Midlands Regional Economic Planning Board.
John L Paterson has been appointed head of the school of design and crafts at Edinburgh College of Art with effect from I January 1973.
Viscount Caldecote, chairman of the Design Council, has become chairman of Delta Metal Co Ltd.
Dr H C Pereira, director of the East Malling Research Station since 1969, is to become the first chief scientist at the Ministry of Agriculture.
Basil Hyman (chairman and managing director of Limelight Furniture) is chairman and general manager of the newly formed Bowater Corporation Furniture Group and Barrie Rees is group controller.
Tom McLaren, convener of Glasgow transport committee, has been appointed chairman of the Greater Glasgow Passenger Transport Authority.
D P V Youle, research director of ICI petrochemicals division, will become head of ICI research and development at Millbank from 1 January on the retirement of G M Heath.

 

 

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