|Developing new markets in the European furniture industry through the use of lamination and bentwood design and technology, 1830-1880|
|This paper argues that using three components, the cultural, the organisational and the technical, developments in design, technology and society can be better understood. The first, the cultural, is reflected in common goals, values, and ethical codes and an awareness of creativity as cultural activity.
The organisational component relates to the degree of purposive activity or volition that instigates production and consumption. This will include economic and industrial activity, professional activity and the modes of distribution and consumption. The technical aspects include knowledge, skill and techniques, the application of tools, machines, and of course, the products consumed.
Using the case study of the “Austrian” bentwood furniture industry in the period 1830-1880, this paper will consider the structure of the industry, the impact of social groups, developments in the business and the artefacts they produced, and the progress in technologies and patented applications all of which demonstrate the interactions of social, economic and design/technology factors.
By using a combination of theoretical approaches (including SCOT, ANT and TTP) and drawing on the work of for example, Latour, Bijker, Dosi, the connections between technological innovation, (e.g. Utterback’s three phases of innovation), business growth, product development and consumption will be explored and analysed.
The case study will draw out the social contexts of the technology to demonstrate how bentwood furniture design, manufacturing, distribution and consuming are aspects of a classic network.