"The term ‘good design’ isn’t one that just cropped up in the mid-20th century," says design historian Marilyn Friedman, alluding to the modernists who would come to define it. "It began as a concept in the mid-19th century when Englishmen were reacting to all the stylistic revivals that proliferated. You really had two schools [of furniture makers] that were talking about ‘good design.’" One was that of Augustus Pugin, who sought to take machines out of the applied arts, moving back toward a more medieval model "when craftsmen were craftsmen." The other belonged to Arts and Crafts movement founder William Morris, who aimed for a simpler aesthetic in which the use of machines freed up artisans to do what they were best at, like handcarving or painting. Friedman argues that Morris was after "simplicity, something the modernists also wanted."
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