Monday, November 10, 2008

International Modernism

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?


nicoLe said...

I think more than anything it has fueled the convenient factor of our society today. The simple adancements in tuperware for example continue to improve upon the length of the lives of meals. It is about saving and preserving items rather then wasting them. Simple changes such as these save time it would take to prepare another meal, the money it would require to purchase that meal, and the effort it would take to do such

Sara Watson said...

International Modernism is still influencing design today. The idea of specialization is very important. Companies/Designers look for a need that needs to be met or a better solution to a problem. Also the idea of taking a regular household item and turning it into a piece of art. The new materials had both a positive and negative affect on today's world. The positive was that experimentation was able to happen. I can't imagine not having plastic containers to put leftovers in. The negative affect was that some of the new materials go right in the trash. Not very many people recycle Glad containers and things. International Modernism has shaped today's world by experimentation with new solutions and materials.

Carrie.Marcum said...

International Modernism has influenced all fields of designs because of its bold and strong impact during its time. It was a time of new materials and brand new ways of thinking. International Modernism tied together all forms of art and design. That is one of the main reasons why it has influenced all fields. International Modernism was really a great leap for companies to began to market themselves and often with the use of photography or graphic design. Companies are now able to brand themselves to a certain look or make a brand for them to be able to step away from the competitors. Over the past years International Modernism has evolved and influenced other styles that are current today. International Modernism was the gateway. I think that new materials (Tupperware) had positive effect on society and new materials that gave better options for living. I feel that International Modernism has shaped todays society because it opened people’s eyes to a new and modern world that gives us better ways of living.

Amy Clark said...

As modern design involves adapting new materials and methods to create more efficient, practical as well as comfortable products, I feel that it has had a positive effect on the design field and society. International modernism laid the ground work that allowed designers to really be creative and think outside of the box. Furthermore, it provided them with a platform to be self-expressive. This is evident when looking at some of the products designed during that period, i.e. the Eames chair or Bertoia's Diamond chair. At that time, there was a continuous supply of new designs. International modernism also influenced the public and their willingness to accept new and different products/materials. Design is always evolving as people discover new methods, materials and as new design challenges present themselves. The effects of International modernismn can still be seen today. Recently at work, a company did a product presentation on modular walls. These walls are very flexible and can be taken down and reconfigured as needed; they can be adjusted to change the aesthetic appearance as well. Many universities are using them to alter classroom sizes each semester. This technology allows the designer to be creative in developing a space and allows the client the freedom to adjust the space as needed.

This blog is intended for the interior design students in the college of design at the University of Kentucky. It was created with the intent to present students with information, providing them with a channel for contemplation and discussion.