Victor Papanek: The Politics of Design


A comprehensive overview of Victor Papanek’s life and work.


ISBN: 9783945852262 Category:

Mateo Kries, Amelie Klein, Alison J. Clarke


Shortlisted for the Richard Schlagman Art Book Awards 2019 for Best Contribution to Design History

The designer, author and design activist Victor J. Papanek anticipated an understanding of design as a tool for political change and social good that is more relevant today than ever. He was one of the first designers in the mainstream arena to critically question design’s social and ecological consequences, introducing a new set of ethical questions into the design field.

Victor Papanek: The Politics of Design presents an encompassing overview of Papanek’s oeuvre, at the heart of which stood his preoccupation with the socially marginalized and his commitment to the interests of areas then called the Third World, as well as his involvement in the fields of ecology, bionics, sustainability and anti-consumerism. Alongside essays and interviews discussing Papanek’s relevance in his own era, this book also presents current perspectives on his enduring legacy and its influence on contemporary design theory. Original Papanek family photographs, art and design work, drawings, correspondence and countless materials from the Victor J. Papanek Foundation archive at the University of Applied Arts Vienna are reproduced here for the first time, alongside work by both Papanek’s contemporaries and designers working today.

Additional information

Weight 1207 g
Dimensions 19.2 x 24.9 cm
Publisher name Vitra Design Museum GmbH
Publication date 15 January 2019
Number of pages 400
Format Paperback / softback
Dimensions 19.2 x 24.9 cm
Weight 1207 g


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Mateo Kries is the Director of the Vitra Design Museum. Amelie Klein is a Curator at the Vitra Design Museum. Alison J. Clarke is a professor at the University of Applied Arts Vienna.