Week 8 - European Modernism
basic principles are to challenge and change, to improve upon or reject
the past. Individualism is important, as is innovation.
designers sought ideal forms for the products and architecture they
created – forms that would have a universal appeal, and that would
transcend individual differences in taste, regardless of the user’s
social position. In this way design was envisaged as a unifying force,
helping to create a fairer, socially just world, and producing timeless
objects unaffected by the vagaries of fashion."
Over the following weeks, we will go into more detail on regional developments of Modernism - Dutch De Stijl, Italian Futurism, Russian Constructivism and German Bauhaus. A few other regional styles of European Modernism that we won't be covering seperately include:
In Prague, the influence of Art Nouveau on Modernism was particularly
obvious. For example the Hodek Apartment Building by Josef Chochol,
(or Chocol) built just before WWI:
The Design and Industries Association (DIA) was established in London in 1915 to persuade manufacturers and designers to adhere to principles of ‘good design’, and is still in existence today. www.dia.org.uk
The chair to
the right was designed by Ernest Race out of aluminium, a
new material at the time. This was an example of Utility Scheme
furniture, a government-sponsored style resulting from wood rationing
during WWII that initially met with some resistance from the buying
Berthold Lubetkin (1901-1990)
Suprematist architect who moved to Britain in the 1930's, where he
formed the company Tecton and did his best known works. His
distinctive works were influential in the development of the International
Style decades later.
Reminiscent of Malevich's "Architecton" models?
Modernism in France
Le Corbusier (Charles-Edouard Jeanneret)
Architect, Town Planner and Artist who lived in Paris and had a great
impact on European Modernism and the development of the International
Style (covered in International Style week in more detail). Early in
his career, he started to develop principles of functionalism that would
be defining characteristics of Modernism, such as his "Five Points
of Architecture" in 1927.
Stein was one of his ground-breaking early works in 1927. Note how
out-of-place this 1920's car looks next to the modern white box type
Another early work: greatbuildings.com/buildings/Ozenfant_Studio.html
Another technological development that impacted on furniture design at the time was the development of plywood, and the possibility of moulding it into solid, curvaceous planar forms: bentply.com/modstock.html
The increasing amount of time available for leisure also impacted upon design. The Seaside holiday in the UK became very popular, and Modernism even had it's impact in seaside resorts such as Brighton: braggs1.fsnet.co.uk/architecture.htm
Contextual factors to consider:
Some key technical innovations:
Meanwhile, in Fine Art:
graphics, text and design: copyright retrokat.com 2001-4
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