When the English term industrial design was introduced into Scandinavian design discourse after World War II, with the ensuing emergence of industrial design as a profession in its own right, distinct from other spheres of design practice, the longstanding but uneasy love affair between art and industry took center stage. Materials-their physical properties, their place in manufacture, their artistic potential, their cultural meanings, and the skills required to manipulate them-were at the heart of this discourse. A pre-eminent example of this union of cultures can be found in an intriguing proclamation by the cultural historian and president of the Norwegian Applied Art Association, Knut Greve:

The most interesting and intriguing experiments in the fi eld of applied art today are related to completely new materials . . . Such experiments can only be carried out in the laboratories of large-scale industry and backed by the large-scale industry’s mighty economic resources . . . Hand a Norwegian designer a lump of plastic, a glass fi ber mat, a rubber sponge. He will make better use of a rock. But it is these experiments that primarily are “modern art” today. It is these which will revolutionize our ways of living and our design.