Defined as an opposition to views and ideals within the modernist movement, Post Modernism welcomed the distinctive, whimsical and eclectic. With an increasingly unsure and sceptical western world, the design movement embodied a cultural move in which exclusive modernism no longer represented the majority. Turmoil and instability after two world wars and an exposure to the sufferings within other countries brought about a new freedom of expression and an art movement that supported a blend of styles. There was a return to the morals, philosophies and traditions of a by-gone era, pre-dating the 20thcentury. The most crucial of all was a collapse in the division between high and low culture, in which post modernists took revelation from mass media and consumerism culture, rejecting the idea of grander art and design.
The birth of eclectic style, Post-Modernism was nostalgic, exuberant and distinguishing. In effect there were no rules, and art, design and architecture could explore with a range of colour, scale and materials. Traditional art was envisioned and concocted through altered and distorted classical motifs. Colour was lively and vivacious, applying no conventional structures or restrictions. Art and design merged together to make one bold statement – a design, building or home treated as your playground in which you could equivocally explore whichever style you wish. Maximalist in essence as there is no limitation to the ornamentation in your home, furniture pieces that are designed to visually enjoy and not solely as functional items, and the introduction of recycled materials to truly add experimentation and fun within your space.
One of the first Post-modern architects, Robert Venturi designed an array of ground-breaking and unconventional buildings. Including, the Vanna Venturi House in 1964, which identified the distinguishing qualities of post-modernist design. The seemingly traditionally features that are distorted in an innovative and novel manner, such as the mis-matched windows, the oversized chimney and arch framed entrance. A reinterpretation of a conventional suburban home, The Vanna Venturi House, designed for his mother to live in, is modern yet playful.
Another example of Venturi’s exceptional architecture is the Children’s Museum of Houston from 1992, a courageous and daring structure, with a bright yellow colour palette and zany patterns that enhance the front entrance. Venturi is deemed to be one of the most creative post-modernist architects, challenging principles and standards of design through his work.
Alessandro Mendini designed one of the most iconic post-modernist furniture pieces – the Proust Chair. Inspired by the French writer Marcel Proust, Italian designer Alessandro Mendlini created this revolutionary and unconventional chair. Adorned with brightly coloured dots, the 18thcentury Neo- Baroque style chair rebels against predictable shapes and scale – a statement of unique idealism.