THE MODERNIST UTOPIAN VISION OF SOCIAL EQUALITY: THE MONOBLOC SINGLE MOULDED PLASTIC CHAIR GLOBALISED DESIGN THINKING
Stephen T.F. POON
School of Media, Arts & Design, Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation, Malaysia
The discussion in this research is about how the utopian ideology that emerged from designing ordinary products demanded by mass consumer markets triggered the plastic monobloc pandemic and influenced social reformation, both in aesthetics aspects of industrial design applications, and in equalising the global post-World-War II economy. Modernism through mass production processes provides a platform for social response by urban designers, who strive for more sustainable ways to achieve idealised utopian conditions by introducing characteristics of durability, cheapness and sturdiness, while developing mass production techniques. The ubiquitous monobloc chair is an example of social activism in design thinking, as mass manufacturing enables society to afford less costly, everyday furnishing materials such as injection-moulded plastic chairs. From the creative standpoint, many in design fields may disqualify and disclaim the value of homogenous plastic furniture as a tangible expression of social reformation. Nevertheless, monoblocs ride on the mass-consumer utility factor and is promoted from economic benefit rather than aesthetics standpoint. What should we make of this, and how does design modernism fit into the 21st-century ideals of “utopian” society today?
Keywords: Monobloc Chair, Mass Manufacturing, Modernism, Social Equality, Utopia