International Modernism was a major design style lasting from around 1945 to the 1960’s brought about by the “shortages” and “rationing” after World War II (Raizman, 244). However due to new exhibitions as well as the example of the United States, economic recovery, optimism, and consumer confidence were once again motivated (Raizman, 244). In the United States, architects maintained “eclectic historicism based on the concepts of the Paris Ecole des Beaux Arts,” (Pile, 373). Many new “modern design initiatives” began to appear after the war, which used new “materials and technologies to domesticate consumption and efficiency” (Raizman, 244). Modern Industrial materials, such as plastic, Poly-T, fiberglass, aluminum, steel wires, and concrete were utilized for individuality and comfort in a way they had never been used before. Technologies used in the war efforts began to surface for domesticate uses, like Ploy-T or pliable plastic manufactured in 1942 used in the new production of “Tupperware,” a household item which continues to be used today. Because there were products on the market which were more specialized to specific needs, companies began to market themselves to “differentiate the company’s product…from their competitors” (Raizman, 245) often favoring the use of photography (Raizman, 251). During Industrial Modernism, industrial technology was thought of as “the agent of improved efficiency” and allowed for a sense of “individual fulfillment” (Raizman, 247). Charles Eames took his knowledge from working in the US Navy and experimented with new technologies creating low cost furniture in more “organic sculptural” forms, for example the “lounge chair“ designed in 1956 (Raizman, 247).
International designers sought to design products in a way which would express individuality and new public appreciation for original designs and the production of new technologies allowed for sculptural flexibility. In the United States, designers like Frank Lloyd Wright, which was influenced by Japanese geometry (Pile, 373). International Modernists designers, like Paul Rand and Gene Federico, used the element of surprise and contrast in their works to communicate “bold innovation” (Raizman, 252). Designers like Alvin Lustig believed they must remain “free” in order to “experiment, play, change, and alter forms” (Raizman, 253-254). Magazines began to have more striking compositions which would experiment with typography using a broad array of techniques (Raizman, 254-256). Will Burtain, a German graphic designer, began to “cover a wide range of activities,” in which he would often juxtapose images freely (Raizman, 257). International Modernism took many varying directions, while having a large impact on the public, and designs of today.
How has International Modernism influenced design of all fields today? How has International Modernism changed from and developed over the past 60 years? Do you think that new materials (like the development of Tupperware) had positive or negative effect on society? How do you believe International Modernism has shaped todays society?