In the last couple weeks I visited two museum exhibitions: Eero Saarinen, at the National Building Museum in DC, and Buckminster Fuller, at theWhitney Museum in New York, (both these link to lots of information about both individuals works).
Both shows linger with me and seem relevant to everyday life. The products of their work are quite different: Saarinen known for his design of the St. Louis arch, innovative advances in both corporate building as well as airports and chairs made in collaboration with Eames, juxtaposed Fuller known for geodesic domes, dymaxion car (only developed to prototype stage) and the dymaxion map (shows the earths continents with minimum distortion when on a flat surface).
Eero Saarinen, “Each object should be designed in its next largest context – a chair in a room, a room in a house, a house in an environment, an environment in a city plan.”… “Nothing exists in isolation. Everything is connected.”
Buckminster Fuller, defined synergy as “the behavior of whole systems not implicit in any of the behavioral characteristics of any of the parts of the system when those parts are considered only separately,” and synergetics as the “exploratory strategy of starting with the whole.” He adopted “synergetics” as the name for the experiential mathematics he developed and demonstrated using numerous models.
My draw to their work lies in the similarity of an interdisciplinary approach which results in a practice of utilizing innovative materials and methods. For one project Saarinen developed a neoprene gasket for the windows in another he experimented with Cor-Ten steel which previously had been used only for railroads. Fuller advocated the necessity of recycling materials and looking to renewable sources for energy. My interest lies in that they approached individual projects as opportunities to try something new. This practice naturally incorporates ecology not as an end goal but as an essential component….something I strive for in my everyday practices.