The exhibition “The Essence of Things” at the vitra Design Museum (March 20 to September 19, 2010) looks at the motifs of reduction principles that have shaped design througout time and many environments. In the exhibition catalogue, co-curator Martin Hartung raises the question of man as the “measure of all things”. He writes that due to industrialization, machines began to imitate human gestures and alienated people from the world of things. Fritz Kahn stylized the machine as an allegory of the human body to “overcome the society’s alienation from material things and reconcile it with the world. For the purpose of illustrating the processes that had mechanized society, the most obvious model to present itself was the human body”. As an example, Hartung shows the Kahn image “Man as Industrial Palace”, a poster from 1926.
vitra Design Museum