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Better Living Through Chemistry

Episode 4 of 5

In the 1950s and 60s, plastic, combined with the miracles of electronic miniaturisation, allowed designers to offer consumers more freedom.

The story of design enters the 50s and 60s, when a revolutionary new material called plastic combined with the miracles of electronic miniaturisation to allow designers to offer post-war consumers something new: liberation.

Designer Verner Panton pursued the seemingly impossible dream of a chair made from a seamless piece of plastic while Joe Colombo proposed the Austin Powers-style 'cabriolet bed', complete with built-in cigarette lighter and stereo. Meanwhile in Japan, designers at Sony were shrinking radios from pocket-size to palm-size, paving the way for the ultimate in portable lifestyle-the Walkman. But the optimism of the era came to an abrupt end when concerns about the environmental impact of plastic came to the fore.

Featuring Sony master designer Teiyu Goto, Alberto Alessi and Stephen Bayley.

59 minutes

Last on

Tue 13 Jul 2010 01:00


Role Contributor
Narrator Denis Lawson
Producer Peter Sweasey
Director Peter Sweasey
Producer Chris Rodley
Director Chris Rodley


  • Fri 28 May 2010 19:00
  • Mon 7 Jun 2010 19:00
  • Tue 13 Jul 2010 01:00