chapter  7
16 Pages

Technology and design, a new alliance

WithPenny Sparke

New production technologies, emanating for the most part from the USA, dramatically influenced the way in which industry organised its manufacturing. In addition, technology joined with design in a hungry pursuit of new materials with which to meet consumers’ enhanced desire for novelty and industry’s demands for ever cheaper means of manufacturing goods. The industrial reconstruction of Europe in the post-war years was largely made possible by the injection of American funding as part of the Marshall Plan. While, on one level, post-war Europe embraced American funds, support, technology and corporate culture, on the other, it continued to develop its indigenous, craft-based, small-scale industries. By the 1980s, the high-technology cottage industries that emerged in Italy employed between five and fifty workers; the tools were the most advanced numerically controlled equipment of their type; and the products were sophisticated and distinctive enough to capture monopolies in world markets.