Journal Article

Creative Living, Ecological Design and Russel Wright’s Manitoga

D. J. Huppatz

in Journal of Design History

Published on behalf of Design History Society

Volume 25, issue 4, pages 363-378
Published in print November 2012 | ISSN: 0952-4649
Published online October 2012 | e-ISSN: 1741-7279 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jdh/eps032
Creative Living, Ecological Design and Russel Wright’s Manitoga

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With contemporary designers increasingly focusing on environmental considerations, design historians have begun the search for precedents that might reconstruct design history in sustainable terms. An essential step in this reconstruction will be further consideration of design as an extended ecological practice or process, rather than the previously narrow focus on the production, consumption and mediation of discrete, finished artefacts. This article examines design as an ecological practice through a close analysis of American designer Russel Wright’s home, studio, and woodland garden, Manitoga. Integrating architecture, interior, and landscape design into an environmental gesamtkunstwerk, Manitoga is a largely forgotten proto-ecological design project of the 1950s. However, Manitoga is more than simply a historical site, and is reconsidered here as a project that combines Wright’s ‘creative living’ ideals and design processes, one that remains provocative over fifty years later.

Keywords: ecological design; industrial design; interior design; landscape design; Manitoga; Russel Wright

Journal Article.  8000 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Art ; Art Forms ; Industrial and Commercial Art ; Art Styles

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