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Christopher Dresser

Christopher Dresser

*  1834 Glasow
† 1904 Mulhouse/Frankreich

Christopher Dresser studied at the Government School of Design in London between 1847 and 1854. Dresser taught there himself from 1855 until 1868. Although trained as a designer, Christopher Dresser was long torn between art and botany. In 1860 Dresser applied unsuccessfully for a chair of botany at London University. On being rejected, Christopher Dresser founded a design studio. From the outset Christopher Dresser designed forms intended for mass production. In fact, Christopher Dresser might be called the father of industrial design since he designed metal, glass, and ceramic objects for more than fifty firms. Unlike the craftsmen of the Arts and Crafts movement, Christopher Dresser was well aware of the potential of linking industrial mass production and top-quality design. And Christopher Dresser's designs are not just far ahead of their time; they are also forward-looking in aesthetic conception. Christopher Dresser's familiarity with the Japanese decorative and applied arts and his enthusiasm for the Japanese clarity of form led him to design vessels and objects that were very austere and stringently geometric in structure. Much of the metalware Christopher Dresser designed between the 1860s and 1880s prefigures 1920s functionalism. Just how forward-looking Christopher Dresser's seminal designs were is shown by the 1993 new edition reissued by Alessi of the conical sugarbowl "Christy" after the unchanged 1864 Christopher Dresser design. Except for the shift from metal to plastic, nothing about the Christopher Dresser form and its reissue suggests that a century lies between the two objects.