Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Thought of the Day #96 - Modern Design

While waiting on a technical support helper, I had an opportunity to
thumb through yet another International Design magazine and it dawned
on me that what is termed "modern design" is starting to look very

While the clean lines and simplicity in shape can still be refreshing
when compared to your run-of-the-mill home design, the chairs and other
houshold furnishings could have been designed today or during the 50s,
so how *modern* is it really?

Modern design should have had a more time specific style name attached
to it, rather than "modern" which is any time close to current. Kinda

In any event, it also became apparent that today's "modern designs" look
almost too simplistic and lazy. Maybe my eye is starting to appreciate
the grandeur, intricacy, time intensive and even 'thoughtful' nature of
"old world" craftsmanship rather than the plastic extrusion molds?

At this point, I would like genuinely modern design to start to drift
towards the real, possibly ornate, and even time intensive. If I'm
going to spend 3000 dollars on a chair, I want the person who actually
worked to produce the item to reap the reward for their labor, rather
than the solely for a designer who envisioned shiny red plastic.

Does that make any sense? Probably not. Maybe I'm thinking too 'modern'.


bobber said...

From what you describe, Cat, it sounds like 20th Century "Modern". Rather minimalist, very simple, sometimes industrial styling. I've seen enough of that too, but I like it anyway. But you are right, it too is dated.

To me, "Modern" should be as the term originally seemed to mean ~ current cutting edge, not simply a rehash of what was once appropriately described that way. Gotta get some new thinking, some new creativity bubbling for newer designs.

Most of what we get today regardless of style or period is limited by the means of production, and for mass produced stuff, there seem to be a lot of compromises. There are some designers and furniture makers who do think outside this box, but most of their work is one-off custom stuff.

When I was in Boston several years ago, I actually found a couple of these "galleries" and they had some interesting stuff that was far more unique than much of what passes for "Modern" today. FWIW