Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Spread of Early Modernism in Europe

The Countries in Europe where democracy was able to thrive, such as the Netherlands, Scandinavia, and Britain, is where Modernism was accepted and embraced. Flat roofs, smooth white walls, and large glass areas dominated the style. Also, as in Art Nuevo and Art Deco, there was an absence of historical and ornamental detail.
The designers of the time such as Mendelsohn, Dudok, and Mies van der Rohe focused on the functions of their designs, placing aesthetics second. They also prioritized their works by designing interior spaces first and molding the exterior around it.
The Modern era was defined as having an abstract and cubistic style. It was referred to as the “machine age” by Pile. The spread of Modernism in Europe happened in the years between World War I and World War II. With the uncertainties going on in Europe after World War II many of the designers escaped to the new world to spread Modernism in America. Think about if the designers had stayed in Europe and continued spreading modernism. How much different would Europe look now? Do you think other countries would have adopted the style once they became more democratic? Most importantly, would you want modernism to spread and why?


Jennifer Litsey said...

Thinking about how Europe would look now if they didn't spread across to the US is a very interesting thought. With the past styles in the US being very ornate and using alot of curvilinear line, and with Art Deco being the last period style before this, the US would probably continue in this direction. Art Deco was very different from past styles but was still heavy with galmorous ornamentation, and this Modernism seems to be very different from that.
I believe that Europe and the US would look very different from each other now if this hadn't happened. There are some differences today, but I believe they would be much more drastic. Europe having the cold, hard look and feel of modernism and the US with ornate curvilinear design.
And yes, I also believe that if this style didn't spread to the US, it would have gone elsewhere, that is just the most probable situation because no one in history has ever really stayed where they are for very long.
And yes, I would want to spread modernism. Modernism is by far my favorite style in design. I think it has a very crisp look, making it seem very clean and can be very intense places to be in that you will definitely remember. ...But this isn't always good, I love Modernism in commercial design, but I don't know if I would ever really be able to impliment the style into my own home.

Jennifer Litsey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kinseyjanzen said...

I believe that had modern designers not escaped to the United States, Europe as a whole would be much more modern. A lot of the classicism apparent overseas would have been replaced with more modern styles. This would not necessarily be a bad thing, but just different. It would definitely not be the same Europe as today, and it probably would have lost some of its atmosphere and charm.

Also, it would have taken more time, but modernism would have spread more in Europe once democracy was more accepted and adopted by more countries. I would not want modernism to spread more in Europe though, because Europe represents the past to me. All different styles are represented together there, which creates a sense of walking through the ages. If modernism had spread more, I believe the atmosphere would have changed dramatically, and the ambiance and impression Europe would have on its visitors and residents would be completely different. The past would have been somewhat lost had modern designers stayed and spread modernism.

Audrey said...

It is interesting that you would ask a question regarding the origin of modernism since modernism is as a rule void of ethnicity. In short modernism belongs nowhere and fits in anywhere. Imagine any particular modern space. Forget what you know about the space. Using only visual elements determine where the space is from? Of course the materials used may give its origin away. Still aren’t the finishes superficial to the over all design?

Brad said...

I feel that if the designers had stayed in Europe and continued to educate as well as design on the basis of modern principals Europe would be even further ahead of us than they already are. As a nation we should be thankful for the influence of these great designers. Though modernism would have eventually spread to the US the war helped to give it a jumpstart. At this particular period of time in history when modernism was spreading across the world we as designers were in need of a drastic change in thought and theory, not unlike we are today. The need for a new innovative and emerging style is much awaited and overdue. Though I am sure at first like with any new style there will be the ones to embrace it and the ones to discount it as a fleeting fad. I only hope that it comes before we are completely stagnated as a culture.

brittney said...

Although I do in fact have a great appreciation for modernism, I must say that I'd have to agree with Kinsey in that I'm not sure I'd want Europe to have fallen into this new wave of style. Europe sets a great example of classicism and maintains this strong and noble image that we have and will continue to lood at for years to come. The Modern Movement in design is one of my favorites, but it wouldn't be what it is without those that came before it and for this very reason, it is important to appreciate and honor the past.

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