Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Importance of the History of Modern Design; the Many Faces of Modern and Where it is Heading

When you see modern furniture, architecture, art or decor and it appeals to you, how do you describe or explain the piece or structure and its draw?

Where does this style come from and what makes it as modern today as it was yesterday? As designers and architects continue to produce modern pieces and structures, what influences their works and can this revival of the Scandinavian and Mid-Century Modern movements and continuing expressions of Modernism bring about a new revolution in design?
I hope to explore this subject at length throughout the summer. If you should have anything to contribute, please let me know.

First we must understand the basics. Here are a few terms and definitions to get us started. Note how many of these overlap and influence one another. This will be a reoccurring theme.

Bauhaus:(1919 – 33) Influential, forward-looking German school of architecture and applied arts. It was founded by Walter Gropius with the ideal of integrating art, craftsmanship, and technology. Realizing that mass production had to be the precondition of successful design in the machine age, its members rejected the Arts and Crafts Movement's emphasis on individually executed luxury objects. The Bauhaus is often associated with a severe but elegant geometric style carried out with great economy of means, though in fact the works produced
by its members were richly diverse.

Modernism (1920-1960's): Modernism, also known as the Modern Movement, marked a conscious break with the past and has been one of the dominant expressions of design practice, production, and theory in the 20th century and is generally characterized visually by the use of modern materials such as tubular steel and glass, the manipulation of abstract forms, space and light, and a restrained palette, dominated by white, off-white, grey, and black.

Mid Century Modern: (1933-1965) is an architectural, interior and
product design form that generally describes mid-20th century developments in modern design, architecture, and urban development, and is an organic offshoot of Modern design that’s often associated with the casual furnishings and carefree look of Eichler tract homes in suburban California during the 1950s.

Scandanavia: is a cultural, historical and ethno-linguistic region in northern Europe that includes the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, characterized by their common heritage and language. Modern Norway and Sweden proper are situated on the Scandinavian Peninsula, whereas modern Denmark is situated on the Danish islands and Jutland. In English usage, the term Scandinavia, which refers to a cultural region, is occasionally confused with the Scandinavian Peninsula and is sometimes also taken to include Finland, Iceland, the Faroe Islands and Greenland. Such usage, however, is considered inaccurate in Scandinavia, where the term Nordic countries instead refers to a broader group comprising both Scandinavia itself as well as countries and territories that are historically associated with the Scandinavian countries, including Finland and Iceland.

Danish Modern: is a vintage style of minimalist wood furniture from Denmark. Popular in the 1940s, 50s and 60s, Danish modern is part of the mid-20th century Danish design movement, and is commonly constructed of teak. Noted Danish furniture designer Finn Juhl popularized the style (especially in the United States).

Swedish Modern: This term first became current in the 1930s when modern Swedish design was becoming increasingly well known in Europe and the United States. However, it was at its height in the 1950s and was characterized by many of the qualities of Modernism blended with natural materials such as wood and a Scandinavian respect for craftsmanship.

By looking at differences and similarities among these particular design trends, styles, ideas and regions we will gain a comprehensive idea of what this diverse time of design meant to the world and how it continues to influence arts and culture today.

Signing off for now,


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