Monday, December 1, 2008

Postmodernity, Late Modernism, A

Post-Modernity is a mixture of many styles, thoughts, and concepts a time during the late 70’s through the 90’s.  As Raizman summarized it, “The term postmodernism is also often found in conjunction with others such as post-industrialism and late capitalism, all referring to a culture in which consumption is the common subtext, emerging first in the early years of postwar affluence in the United States and spreading to Europe and other developed nations.” One might wonder where modernism ends and postmodernism begins.  Well, there is a fine line between the two and with the mixture of so many concepts during this time it makes it hard to pin point the start.  According to Raizman, one group during this time had been very influential. The Memphis group comprised of Italian designers and architects who created a series of highly influential products in the 1980's. They disagreed with the conformist approach at the time and challenged the idea that products had to follow conventional shapes, colors, textures and patterns. The Memphis group was founded in 1981. One of the leading members of this group was Ettore Sottsass, Jr.  His furniture designs are very significant during this time.  The Memphis group also worked with the Formica Corporation to design furniture with their new material called ColorCore.  Other designers during this time also experimented with new materials and shapes. Some of those designers are, Robert Venturi, Michael Graves, and Frank Gehry.   According to the Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History: From the late 1970s through the '80s, many architects and designers, reacting against the dictates of modernism, looked to neoclassical forms and materials for inspiration. Visual references derived from art and architecture superseded functionalism. Overt historical references and decoration transformed architecture, furniture, tabletop accessories, and jewelry into objects of fantasy. Well-known architects Robert Venturi, Michael Graves, and others accepted commissions to design products for such diverse international companies as Knoll, Alessi, and Formica. Over a period of more than five years, beginning in the late 1970s, Robert Venturi designed his first furniture line. Knoll International initially asked for three seating types, to which Venturi added six more chairs, three tables, and a sofa. The collection included a variety of major historical furniture styles—Chippendale, Queen Anne, Empire, Hepplewhite, Sheraton, Biedermeier, Gothic Revival, Art Nouveau, and Art Deco. Frank Gehry is also well known for his work in deconstructivism that is also a connected concept to postmodernism.  Sparke also defines postmodernism as, “that single vision of modernity had been replaced by a notion of ‘postmodernity’, which was multivalent and complex, in a state of continual flux, and represented by a diverse and pluralistic material culture." 

What are some other forms that you recognize around campus and the state that were designed during this style? Do you feel that we were ready for a new style even though modernism was still a strong style? What to you is the biggest difference between the modernism style and post-modernism?  Also, Do you feel that post-modernism was a step in the right direction? 


Parahita Rachmani said...

Modernism and postmodernism are somewhat difficult to distinguish since both styles incorporate streamlined shapes, pure forms, and rectilinear lines. What makes postmodernism different from modernism is it was identified with the comeback of surface ornamentation. Although its ornamentation was not as elaborate as the Victorian, postmodernism certainly had a more stylistic approach of modernism. I have also noticed that postmodernist pieces were more exaggerated in form while still keeping the sleek, rectilinear lines as designers began to stay away from conformity and boring,utilitarian design. For instance, Frank Gehry with his deconstructive, avant-garde designs indicates and proves that imagination also matters in design. I believe this is what postmodernist designers have been trying to express that besides helping people, design is all about having fun and a representation of personal expression. Additionally, this affected how others would individually view each designer since this approach enabled designers to develop and showcase their identity. In conclusion, I think that postmodernism was the right step in order for design and the society in general to move forward towards a more liberal world because subjectivity began to occur. Wasn't that how the phrase, "Beauty is in the eye of a beholder," starting to emerge?

Shannon S said...

The biggest difference between modernism and postmodernism is that modernism is all about searching for a way to portray life in an abstract manner. Postmodernism denied logical thinking in reaction to moderism. I think we were ready for a change. Design changes frequently. There are always people trying new ideas, and there are also always people who return to similar ideas and build off of them. Even though we moved on to postmodernism, does not mean we leave moderism in the past for good. Designers often draw inspiration from past ideas and styles. I feel in design change is always a step in the right direction. It is beneficial to explore new ideas constantly. Designers can always return to previous ideas if the new ones do not work. Usually they find a way to make it work.

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.