Beginning Of Design

Industrial Revolution (1800s)

It began in Britain and spread throughout the world. The revolution brings a grand change to Europe as the people start moving towards the cities and large factories are built. This is a time where Europe is in need to import natural resources  at a cheap price to have mass production  of their exports to sell off to other countries at a high price.

The industrial revolution was the major shift of technology, economic and cultural conditions in the late 18th and early 19th century.

unnamedThe Industrial Revolution sets off in 1769

Crystal Palace (19th Century)

The structure was built to host the ‘Great Exhibition’ in 1861. It was made out of glass and iron, and it measured 124 km by 563 meters. Also this structure was able to be moved.

Ten thousand countries participated in the great exhibition. This countries exhibited machinery, fine arts and primary sources such as metal.

After the exhibition was closed, the prefabricated buildings was dismantled and then reconstructed at  Sydenham in South London. The Crystal Palace was destroyed by fire in 1936.

kCrystal Palace from outside and insidePaxtonCrystalPalace


Morris & Co – William Morris (1834-1896)

William Morris founded Morris & Co and they manufactured:

  • Furniture
  • Stained Glass
  • Tapestries
  • Wallpaper
  • Tiles

He was an English artist, poet, socialist reformer, architect, furniture and textile designer who found a return to medieval tradition of design, community and craftsmanship.

Morris dedicated most of his time to architecture and paintings. The firm designed and manufactured decorations  such as carvings, metalwork, stained glass and carpeting. These products were noted for their fine workmanship and natural beauty and directly inspired the Arts and Crafts movement, which sought to reinvest everyday objects with these qualities.


The work of Morris is characterized by an emphasis on decorative elements, especially on those that he thought to be characteristic of the art of the Middle Ages, His designs for books and wallpapers recall the precision and elegance of illuminated manuscripts, and his poems and epic treat medieval themes with a rich imagery  and a simplicity of diction derived from the ancient epics and sages. In his political writings, he attempted to correct the dehumanizing effects of the Industrial Revolution by proposing a form of society in which people could enjoy craftsmanship and simplicity of expression.

5. Strawberry Thief WallpaperStrawberry Thief Wallpaper – Morris

William Morris was the practical romantic who evenhandedly reinvented the Gothic dream of elegantly decorated everything, His wallpapers are dazzlingly complicated, formal and tiled seamlessly.

DM6W230289_zoom.jpgWilliam Morris – Willow Bough

Notice also how subtly Morris handles the difficult task of allowing branches  to decrease in thickness towards the leaves, while making the branches infinite and continuously.

Snakeshead Fabric DetailSofa in a ‘Snakeshead’ pattern

It is a dazzlingly perfect Victorian pattern created in 1876 by Morris for home furnishing. It was manufactured by Thomas Wardle, Leek, in block-printed cotton.


References: Staff – 2009 – Industrial Revolution

V & A – The Crystal Palace –

William Morris – Wallpaper –




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