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March 28, 1993|CHARLES SOLOMON

DESIGN SINCE 1945 by Peter Dormer (Thames & Hudson: $12.95; 216 pp., paperback original). Designers have assumed an increasingly prominent role in postwar manufacturing: It's become commonplace to describe pretty much anything as a "designer" product. Dormer stresses the aesthetic aspects of contemporary design in this attractive introductory history, but tends to overlook the impracticality of many artistic objects--flashy chairs that look as comfortable as iron maidens, snazzy teakettles with plastic finials that melt when exposed to steam, etc.

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