Monday, November 10, 2008

International Modernism C

Following the time after Word War II, nations around the world, like the United States and Germany, sought to create their own identity and style. In order to reach this goal countries would study their own material cultures using “designed artefacts and images as a means of expressing themselves and of attempting to persuade others of what they believed to be, or wanted to be” (Sparke, 95). From their material cultures, nations set goals for their economy, like better trade with neighboring nations (Sparke, 97). Overall, a since of nationality and unity was needed across the world.
When creating these national identities there were two major design ideas that countries would adopt into their design style. The first was a national style based off of the Craft time period, a movement focused on natural materials and manual labor. The second idea found in this time period was the idea that the world was moving into an industrial way of life. This idea was considered to be a “leap of faith” in the design world (Sparke, 95).
During this time of national growth and identification, a strong sense of competition was also present. This competition was best shown within the numerous exhibitions of the time. One of the first exhibitions included the exhibition in Hyde Park, London. The great sense of competition is also shown through the amount of countries participating in these exhibitions, like France, Germany and the United States (Sparke, 97)
Furthermore, there was a very large interest in the popular exhibitions of the time period. For example, Paul Greenhalgh, author of Ephemeral Vistas: The Expositions Universelles, Great Exhibitions and World’s Fairs, studied the various exhibitions and found a series of common themes in each (Sparke, 97). Some of these themes included “new technologies, raw materials and manufactured goods” (Sparke, 97).
Overall, each exhibition provided an opportunity to show off one’s national strength. Also, national achievements and products were displayed openly and proudly.

How is this different from our present day world?
Is our economic and national strength put out there for others to see, like in the various exhibitions of the time period?
Today, are different countries so eager to share their materials and products?
Furthermore, do you think nations today have met their goals in establishing their own national identities and design styles?

17 comments:

olivia said...

Our present day world is somewhat different from this time period. We really dont have worldwide exhibitions where every country showcases a building or design that exemplifies their design philosophies. Our economic and national strength is showcased for others to see, but not necessarily how it was done in history. Americans showcase their status by how large their homes are and how well designed their offices are. Architects compete with each other to achieve the tallest and most elaborate building design. But to me, it doesnt seem as if its on such an international scale as it was before. It seems as if countries are sharing their products, but the most important goal is to create something new for themselves. I definitely think different nations have developed thier own personal design style. For instance, Chinese architecture is known and recognized worldwide. Buildings found in New York City are different from buildings found in Spain. Everyone wants their designs to reflect how they live their lives and how their nation wants itself to be viewed.

Meredith J. said...

Today, we don't necessarily have huge, world-wide exhibitions on a regular basis. Many companies today have firms in a couple of different countries, so there isn't a need to hold on large exhibition, say in London, for companies from all over the world to come to; they can hold smaller exhibitions or trade shows with a few select compaines/firms in attendance. It's not necessarily about what your country thinks as a whole; many places within a country seem to have found their own smaller sense of "style" and have formulated their own ideas and philosophies. I think that national economic strength can be seen when showcasing products, but it's somewhat done in terms of how much a product may cost, how much of it is used in a space, how much space people have to fill and who has the most of a certain, well-known designer. In earlier times, it was all about who had the best, hand-crafted. They seemed to have taken a sense of pride in the money that they had to spend on a quality piece. Nowadays, it's all about showcasing your wealth and how much "stuff" you can buy, whether it be quality or not.
I do believe that when a country comes out with a new product that they think is going to make a big difference not just within their region, but globally, they do share it. But they take ownership in it. They want everyone to know that they made it, they came up with the concept and designed it. But they are also quick to sell it to people because they know that the more available it becomes to people, the more the public is going to want to have that product. I believe that they have achieve their goals, in the sense that bits and pieces of their philosophies and goals in design are being used in all different parts of the world. For example, Frank Lloyd Wright pulled from Chinese proverbs and forms and used them in many of his buildings, including Unity Temple. Countries want to have their own indentity within their territory, but they also want to be known around the world and want other people to use their ideas as inspiration.

Jessica Brake said...

In today’s world I think we see a lot of our past designs or ideas coming back into style and many new, defining styles are appearing, but I think they are showcased in different manners than years ago. Then, the most popular way of spreading ideas was to hold large world exhibitions and have major designers and architects from all over the world come to see what all the different countries are experimenting with. They didn’t have the technological advancements of spreading ideas that we have today, such as TV, internet, cell phones, etc. Today all we have to do is turn the TV on or pull up a website to see what design and architecture looks like across the world. Because of these advancements in technology I believe it’s easier for countries to share their ideas, therefore creating more competition between countries. This in turn, leads to the development of defining styles and national identities countries strive to create for themselves.

Parahita Rachmani said...

Although countries today do not put up exhibitions to show their building and nation's capabilities, a strive for competition to showcase strength still exists among nations. For example, the Empire State Building in New York City became the world's tallest building when it was completed in 1931 until it was surpassed by the Sears Tower in Chicago in 1974. Since then, other countries began to employ their architects and designers to construct the tallest structures ever built to surpass our tallest skyscraper. For instance, the Petronas Towers in Malaysia has become the tallest twin structures when it was completed in 1998. Six years later in 2004, Taiwan built its world's tallest structure, Taipei 101. This ambition of showing nation's power by having the world's tallest building is still going on as the United Arab Emirates is determined to complete its tallest structure, Burj Dubai in Dubai by 2009. Hence, these countries are using architecture and their building abilities to showcase their political and economical strength.
As far as sharing products and materials, technology and transportation have enabled these countries to export and import as tools to get their goods recognize worldwide. For instance, Japan and Germany manufacture automobile to be used both within the countries and worldwide. The more people use their products, the stronger these countries will have been viewed by other countries. Sharing products has also become a way to show each nation's distinct character in terms of style and design. In addition, countries seems to have influenced each other as far as design style. The Westcott House in Ohio reflects Frank Lloyd Wright's Prairie Style as well as his inspiration by the Japanese style.
Modern architects and designers today have also worked internationally as a way of sharing their style and products. Frank Gehry built the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles as well as the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain. Gehry used titanium to enclose both structures, which becomes one of his distinct approaches as far as material choices. Therefore, countries have shown their achievements and established their style by influencing each other and sharing their products, architects, and designers.

Meaghan Boenig said...

Obviously one of the big differences between today and the past is we no longer have worldwide exhibitions, which I think is a loss. Exhibitions provided the opportunity for countries to compete and showcase their work and various design styles/philosophies. Exhibitions also provided a chance for countries to see new ideas and gain knowledge about new materials or building construction. However, even without exhibitions countries today still strive to be the best and produce the best products. It almost feels like a contest competition between countries to showcase their economical and national strength. I agree with Meredith’s point though that countries only seem to want to share their ideas/products when they’ll have a big impact. Who wouldn’t want to take credit for something good?

Kayla.E said...

Its different from our present day world just because of the simple fact that we do not have worldwide exhibitions like back during this time. Our economical and political strengths and weakness both are put of there to see now. Even though we are supposed to be the most powerful country in the world, here lately especially with our economy in the state it is right now. Today most countries dont like to just share their resources and materials they have a good price they want for them. Yes i believe they have established their own national identity and style because you can distinctly differentiate what comes from what country.

Elizabeth Chaffin said...

Large, world-wide exhibitions are no longer used to showcase philosophies, designs, or "statuses" regard to the aforementioned. What is known about each country and their designs are pretty well established into our time. Americans are known for exuberant, luxurious homes, that exemplify their strength and virtue. These ideas convey our country as almost materialistic, by contrasting Mies van der Rohe (Less is more) in that more is more. With that, more is more power. Other countries, however, are noted for other aspects of architecture and culture. Italy is known and has been, for centuries, as a land of classical buildings and motifs. These structures have stood since ancient times and have influenced buildings in other countries. Asian cultures, specifically Japanese, are very notable as well. Very linear elements, and practicability are key aspects to the design. Also mobility of the space and the way the spaces can transform by a simple sliding of a panel, which can drastically change the space to be more public or intimate. Once again, this influences other parts of the world, such as the works of American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Since history is bound to repeat itself, and it is evident that it does, designs (even those seen at the last of world exhibitions) are still seen circulating the world today. Modifications can be brought from past ideas, but still the ideas will be rooted in the same context. The known knowledge of the ideas and past designs will only continue to evolve, but the main ideas of specific cultures will remain.

carrie w said...

Our world has changed in so many ways throughout time. It has even changed drastically from the times of Modernism. It is different from our everyday world but not completely far fetched. Like everyone is saying we do not have worldwide exhibitions but we do have things that show off our design philosophies. Just flip through the latest magazines or drive down a newly constructed neighborhood street. It is all present, it is just not laid out for us to analyze. I believe that every nation has established their own national identity and design style but there are elements from each and every one that link over to another nation. No matter how original and creative a nation is with anything they design, it can be related to something else in another country. I am not trying to say that we are all the same just merely changing little things, i am just stating that everyone builds off of things that other people have thought of.

Carrie R. said...

I think that today we show off and exhibit our design philosophies in different ways than before. Before, there were large world exhibitions that did this. Each country’s philosophies and ideas were showcased. Today, these exhibitions aren‘t necessarily needed. We have much more technological advancement and through this, ideas are showcased through television, internet, magazines, etc. This makes it not as necessary to hold these world exhibitions to share ideas. I think design today is shared through taking ideas that have been used to another level, so in that sense yes, materials and products are eagerly shared. They are shared to create the next best thing. Through this competitive nature, nations do establish their own identities, and strive to have original & “cutting edge” design styles. They achieve this in different ways though. Americans look to ultimate luxury and quantity for good design. These things reflect one’s status which is what much of our nation’s design philosophy is based on. Other countries may rely on ancient architecture as inspiration to create new design. This is cycled to other nations where, again, reappears this “competitive nature” to create the next best thing.

J_Ayares said...

Although it is no longer shown through large, elaborate exhibitions, the economic and national strength of our country is still demonstrated through our standards of living, through our involvement in world issues, and through our control of global markets. Although it is shown in much more subtle ways, a sense of control and stability is still conveyed to other nations around the world. However, because there are no longer large exhibitions in which countries from around the world show their designs, materials, and products, today's individual national identities are not as clear. One must look to magazines, catalogs, internet, and other methods of communication in order to understand the differences in current styles. There has been a great deal more blending of style between nations across the globe due to this ease of communication and advertisement of designs. Not only have the styles of different places become a bit more regulated, but the materials and and products of various countries have also become more readily available. Instead of individual countries advertising, producing, and sharing their own products and materials, they are using other resources to achieve the same results for less money. Mainly, many countries have their products and materials produced in other countries where labor is cheaper. Therefore, items that were traditionally known to come from places such as France, England, Germany, or the US are now coming from all over the world.

Lindsey Calvin said...

While different areas of the world still possess their own kind of architecture, we are beginning to see very similar architecture throughout the world, especially when we consider the design of modern skyscrapers. Different from earlier times, today the United States is considered more of a leader in creating new architectural designs whereas in earlier times they simply copied what other countries did. I dont feel like countries are as willing to share things such as materials. Sometimes it seems we have to give up an arm and leg just to get the required materials for day to day life. Despite the sharing of ideas and somewhat similar architecture, there still remains distinct styles in certain regions whether it be in home design or commercial design.

Shannon S said...

Design techniques and styles of countries across the world all differ, as they have years before as well. Back then, they used world exhibitions to display these ideas and showcase their work. However, today we use different methods of sharing our design techniques. We achieve this through the use of technology, such as, television and the worldwide web. Our economic strengths is out there for everyone to see through technology. At the tough of a button, we can explore the many design tactics used on the other side of the globe. Countries use the internet as a learning tool as well. The only way we have managed to advance with architecture, or anything for that matter, is by learning the mistakes and discoveries of the people before us attempting the same task. Countries do share their materials and products in return for knowledge in other areas. Everyone is constantly trying to out-do the last person, which is healthy competition that pushes every country to strive its people to their fullest potential. I think that each country has developed their own personal style according to the lifestyles of the people that live there. There are specific architectural details on buildings in Italy that differ from America or France.

Katie Bluhm said...

What is really different is not that we don't have grand world exhibitions like we did before. In fact, the last world's fair exhibition was held just this year in 2008. From June to September, Zaragoza, Spain was the location of an exhibition focusing on water and sustainable development - an issue the whole world is currently trying to improve. There are even World Fair Exhibitions planned up to 2015. I will agree that the world's fair hasn't been held in the United States for quite sometime - very different from years past. The last time the fair was held in the U.S. was in 1984 in New Orleans, which was the only fair to ever result in bankruptcy. The lack of attendance is believed to be the issue, and possibly the result of the belief that the world fair has expired its purpose.
I think it's becoming time for another United States exhibition, but before this can happen we need to get our economy back to it's full potential. We need to be the leaders in finding solutions to today's world problems before we can host a fair to show the rest of the world the answers. Since the world's fair is already planned for 2015, maybe it can be our turn in the decade following.
In terms of other nations and their identities, I think that every nation has their own individual traditions and thoughts. While every nation is working towards a common solution, the way we each approach the process is different. Our past experiences and philosophies allow us to have different views on problems, and result in different solutions. Virtually, when you give two people a problem, they will derive a solution from their own experiences. In studio, while we had the same clients, we all designed different solutions. The same effect happens throughout the world. While each nation is finding ways to reduce global warming and deterioration, we will all come up with different solutions in doing this.
With research and innovative thinking, the United States will once again be an exhibition visionary, and will sweep the world off their feet as we have in years past.

maggie clines said...

I think in today’s society each country and nation is trying to one up each other in the continual growth of technology. There is a constant battle, this even started during the development of the skyscraper and how high they were. Now with the mass technology and materialistic culture, the competition continues to cultivate. One of the most recent examples of this was the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. The opening ceremony alone showed the grand scale that China has grown to. They spent billions of dollars building amazing architecture for the games all to show the world that they are quickly becoming a world power. I think that the Olympics as a whole has been a very important way for countries to show their pride and their advancements to the rest of the world. By using something so public as the Olympics or a world fair, countries are developing their own style and identity. They are becoming more proud to show what they have developed and are willing to work hard to get there, though many times it comes to the cost of their people as in China and their restricted life style. Overall I feel like today more than ever there is a strong competition between countries to be the first in developing the next greatest design.

Christa Mueller said...

There are stil exhibitions today but they fade significantly in comparison to those of International Modernism. This is true for several reasons. For one, large exposition are no longer necessary to advertise advancements because of the use of the internet. Looking up pictures on line is much cheaper than travelling across the country and yet is still generally sufficient for giving you a feel for the product. Expositions have become more of a thing for the wealthy and are used more for fashion than other forms of design. On another note, in comparison to the times such as International Modernism, less signifacant breakthroughs are being made in design. Perhaps, the presence of worldwide fairs today would encourage stronger developments in design. It's quite possible that this is true because as stated in the blog, competition among nations was a defining characteristic of the time and the fairs in particular. This competition spurred on the drive towards more and more innovation. I beleive that this competition should be braught back so that as a result, our age of designers will be encouraged to develop our own defined style of innovation and creativity.

Julie said...

Huge fairs and exhibitions aren't the source of communication between different nations anymore. We have become so advanced now that we do not need these kinds of ways in which to get ideas out there. Thanks to the internet and the growning number of magazines and newspapers everyone is able to see the world's ideas at the click of a button. We have put ourselves to the point that communication is our best way to identify ourselves and grow. Countries identify themselves from others by their specific needs and mold to that. Through this we create many different kinds of styles and inspiration to share. Everyone is showing through communication that their identities are different and allow that to help others grow and progress to higher levels.

gnjones15 said...

It seems as though in today's society when new discoveries are made they are introduced internationally. There is still a sense of competition, but not as strongly as during the time of international modernism. There is also a lack of international or even national exhibitions nowadays. My mom visited the World's Fair back in the 1980s when it was in Tennessee and I would love to go to something like that. It is just generally known that the US is one of the strongest economic nations but it is not but out in a display and shown at expositions. I think some countries have established their own styles and identities but that had also been lost through wars and governmental takeovers. It seems to me as though today people are not as concerned in the design of things but more of the function.

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