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Chasing the Perfect: Thoughts on Modernist Design in Our Time
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Chasing the Perfect: Thoughts on Modernist Design in Our Time

4.45  ·  Rating Details ·  55 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
In Chasing the Perfect writer/designer Natalia Ilyin delivers her astute, incisive and humorous observations on design and the world it has molded. According to Ilyin, -Modern design is based on deeply idealist notions, and its inherent perfectionism has dovetailed beautifully with our commodity-based economy's need to keep people itching so that they will buy things and k ...more
Hardcover, 131 pages
Published January 1st 2006 by Metropolis Books (first published November 15th 2005)
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Starre Vartan
Dec 26, 2016 Starre Vartan rated it it was amazing
Probably the best book I've read on design since Papanek's classic, but more fun to read. Finely written takedown of modern design that I found myself joyously exclaiming "yes, yes!!!" to every 3-5 pages. Just brilliant and intensely human too, as the author herself proves to be. This book is a beloved part of my library and I have no doubt I will return to it many times in the future.
Beth Adams
May 31, 2016 Beth Adams rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Brilliant Natalia Ilyin...! This was a treat to read and gave me another view on Post Modernism, in terms of style in real life and humanism or lack thereof. It's a complicated look at how Post Modernism trapped us into thinking it is the perfect way to live and see things? We learn about her
thinking on the topic through the lens of a time in the past when she was unraveling and living in New York city. A series of events culminate in her losing her moorings in the city, eviction from an apartme
...more
Steven
A collection of personal essays centered on design, Ilyin voices the doubts some of us have when we see a chair, fork, or table in a catalogue that looks perfectly designed with its clean lines, brushed stainless steel surface, and its hefty price tag. We see these items for their promises of a better life after we slide our plastic cards through the checkout line and bring back the haul into our homes. But these promises can often be nothing more than hollow and imbalanced, despite appearances. ...more
Bro (Dave Kurimsky)
Dec 17, 2007 Bro (Dave Kurimsky) rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Artists/designers/everybody else
Interesting book. Good for designers, artists or anybody who wants a different perspective on our culture. The author challenges lots of ideas that are pervasive in "design culture" and, by extention, American culture, consumer culture and social class. Also, it's real pretty to look at.
Very easy and enjoyable to read as well.
Eric
Jan 17, 2008 Eric rated it it was amazing
Some may call this slight, but I feel like it's the most honest assessment of us modernist/perfection-obsessed design-types. Written in a very intimate and accessible storytelling manner, it made me embarrassed to be a designer—and I think that's a good thing.
Caitlin
Apr 16, 2016 Caitlin rated it it was amazing
This book is a great read for anyone who considers themselves a creator. In it, Natalia questions what drives us to create, and backs up her clever incites with personal experience. An incredibly interesting and enlightening read.
Barb
Nov 11, 2007 Barb rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people who spend months trying to find just the right toaster
Funny, wise memoir of a classically-trained, RISD designer who wants the freedom to illustrate quaint little bonnet-wearing mice if she damn well feels like it. Eff you Bauhaus. The photographs accompanying the text are perfect. Exciting text to image ratio. Beautiful book.
Phoebe
Jul 24, 2007 Phoebe rated it liked it
Recommends it for: graphic designers & other artists
Shelves: non-fictiongems
Recommended by David -his graphic design book group read it. A quick, lively, interesting and insightful read.
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Shelves: design
A light read. Perfect for the subway.
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