Understanding 1970s Design 101
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and there’s no accounting for taste. These trivial truths are generally true, as truths tend to be. Except for a remarkable decade in the history of industrial design: the 1970s. Back then, ugly was the new groovy.
It’s not that people in the 70s thought those designs were beautiful. Everyone knew full well things were ugly. But they liked ugly. They actually loved it. So much so, that manufacturers all over the world were constantly competing to out-ugly their competitors. So, from 1970 on, the general trend was for products to become increasingly uglier.
Until 1977, when Soehnle managed to produce the Ultimate Ugly. It was a scale, of course. Soehnle only produces scales, either for kitchen or bathroom. Design experts agreed it was ten to 12.3 times uglier than the ugliest thing known to man up to that point (nobody remembers what it was; history tends to forget runners-up).
The leap in ugliness was so great, that the entire world soon gave up. It was simply impossible to surpass this Soehnle scale –nobody even bothered to give it a name or number; it was simply known as The Ugly Scale*.