MODERN, Jonathan Glancey, Mitchell Beazley

pg 7:

Modern, we use the word so often that we rarely stop to think what it means. It derives from the latin word “modo”, meaning “just now” or “right now”. It has been a feature of the english language and latin languages for a very long time, even though, when we are thinking about art, design, and architecture, we associate its use almost exclusively with the 20th century and possibly beyond. We find it hard to imagine that architects and designers in previous centuries thought of themselves as moderns, yet they did, and self consciously so.

pg 13: The modern movement

The modern movement was nothing less than a revolution in taste, in style, in the whole philosophy of architecture and design. It was perhaps the first time that architects, artists, designers, novelists, playwrights, poets, musicians, and philosophers rebelled against history. At its most extreme the decorations and canons of taste that had evolved over many centuries and even millennia were to be abandoned. A new aesthetic was needed, one that the most zealous modernists believed to represent a new epoch, the age of the machine. In reality, the modern movement was a complex phenomenon and it would be unwise to attempt to package it too neatly. Even so, there are clear markers inits history, key players in its development, and a number of buildings and interiors that define and characterise this cultural revolution.

The roots of the modern movement lay in the reaction of artists of all kinds to the rise of the machine age. It was clear that the revolution had hanged human life profoundly, and yet the response of architects and their clients was, for he most part, to try to deny the mergence of a new culture, or cloak it in such a way that would make it more acceptable to a part-fearful and part-fascinated public………

But the rejection of stifling historical styles was one thing; the development of a new aesthetic that was redolent of the machine age was another. And yet what should this new architecture look like? The styles of the past had developed incrementally, but in this case the need for a new style was instant. (Interestingly, the dilemma was to find echoes in the ultra-rapid digital revolution in the second half of the 20th century – what should a computer-driven culture look like?)

pg 31: Organic

“The straight line belongs to man,” said Antoni Gaudi, “the curve to god.” Most of us know what the architect of the biomorphic expiatory temple of the holy family (the sagrada familia)in Barcelona meant. For Gaudi the straight line was a problem because it spoke of the tyranny of the mathematical or clockwork model of the universe that modern man had created for himself. The truth, of course, is that Gaudi was a great, if intuitive, mathematician. The geometric complexity of the Sagrada familia has been a mind starching problem for those completing this great temple at the end of the century.


pg 93: High – Tech

This form of design has many roots, some of them new, others dating back a century and a half. What high-tech styling seemed to prove was that the industrial age had matured on the point whereby,  far from being fearful of machines and the image of the machine, people had grown not just used to them, but fond of them. The terrible images in fritz langs metropolis, in which the wretched of the earth are condemned to live in some demonic subterranean world where they feed the insatiable machines that drive the world of wealth, luxury, and power above them, had lost their power to frighten. It is significant that just as high-tech design became fashionable, so the age of heavy-duty industry that had inspired it, at one level, was coming to an end….


Yet again reading into this book i am left at a loss my interest has disappeared. This book boldly states its title as modern yet it just seems the same as most books writing about fashions and interiors that have been and who designed them….. are all books to repeat was has been and not what is to be? modern as a word meaning just now so why talk about the past? just now goes more into the future and away from the past. Another disappointing book, lets read some interesting opinions people not just a repeat of the book published before this.


About hannahruthkellett

I am currently doing my Masters in interior design, this blog is to reflect and inspire my progress through out my time on the course. View all posts by hannahruthkellett

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