NOTHING NEED BE UGLY2010, PERFORMANCE
Heals is a homestore for modernist furniture. Its brand identity is transformed into the iconography of a totalitarian regime. This is licenced to the store, who mass-produce it across a product range: dinnerware, linen, tea sets, coasters, screenprints, bags, postcards and confectionery.
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Exploring the Heals archive, I discover a historic logo designed in 1915. Written across the centre, a slogan reads NOTHING NEED BE UGLY. Its monochrome pallette and bold font are accompanied by a geometry that is reminiscent of a fascist dictatorship. For decades, this logo was stamped on Heals furniture, apparently turning its products into vehicles of propaganda.
The British household is an appropriate environment to introduce rhetoric of this kind. It is already governed by strict behavioural codes, which carry a matrix of class relations. There are rules for drinking tea, laying tables, blowing soup, standing up, sitting down. Modernist design can be seen to enforce them: its rectilinear forms, polished materials and artificial surfaces turn the home into space of normalization.
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