The Genius of Design

The Genius of Design is a BBC documentary series narrated by Denis Lawson, exploring the history of design, from the birth of industrial design to today. The series consists of five episodes, each of which deals with a particular period of the 200-year history of industrial design in a broadly chronological order: the birth of industrial design; the radical futurism of the Bauhaus of the 1920s; designs for war machines in the Second World War; designs using new material called plastic in the 1950s and 1960s; and the 'designer decades' of the 1980s and early 1990s.

Episode 1 - Ghosts in the Machine

Episode 1 - Ghosts in the Machine
This episode tells the fascinating story of the birth of industrial design. Alongside the celebrated names, from Wedgwood to William Morris, it also explores the work of the anonymous designers.

Episode 2 - Designs for Living
This episode looks at the crisis-stricken decades of the 1920s and 1930s. With the world at the tipping point between two global wars, design suggested dramatically different ideas about the shape of things to come.

Episode 3 - Blueprints for War
This episode examines the Second World War through the prism of the rival war machines designed and built in Germany, Britain, the USSR and the USA.

Episode 4 - Better Living Through Chemistry
This episode looks at the 1950s and 1960s, when a revolutionary new material called plastic combined with the miracles of electronic miniaturisation to allow designers to offer post-war consumers something new: liberation.

Episode 5 - Objects of Desire
Picking up the story of design from the drab days of the late 1970s, the episode tracks the explosion of wild creativity that defined the 'designer decades' of the 1980s and early 1990s.

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