Post Modernism Dead – Really!

Post Modernism.  A blotch on the design timeframe!  An ugly, lost period!

Stemming from the 60’s, lasting to the 90’s it survived only 30 years. 

Seen mainly in Architecture, the style was quite extreme, in that it doesn’t follow the so called ‘norm’, it aims to push the boundaries.  It was bold, using colours that stood out, shapes that were different.  Ugly, no it was exciting, adventurous and cheery.  Look at the period it stemmed from.

    the-persistence-of-memory        Picture9(20)

    The Persistence of Memory                                  Water treatment plant, UK by John Outram 1988

    By Salvador Dali taken from


The 60’s was a period that questioned many many things, it was a period to express one’s self freely, it was a period to do something not done before.   Twiggy was a big thing, the skinny stick figure was embraced, curvaceous voluptuous was to be out the door!  Bold statements were made, women’s freedom, wear what you want, work at what you want, study what you want.   Men were encouraged to find their softer side.  Use colour, be bold, have fun.

    twiggy-19601    a-trio-female-fashion-models-in-the-1960s

                  Twiggy  1960’s                                                     Models early 1960’s

The 60’s and 70’s took ‘leaps of faith’ in science and technology, lets walk on the moon, let’s find a machine to think faster than us, let’s make life easier, automation.  Access to new materials, better understanding of science, new discoveries.  Hollywood use of colour, be happy, adventure from the real, become abstract.  Animations become bolder, more fluid, movies.  Let’s face it Disney pushed the boundaries.



Mary Poppins 1964 – animation and real mixed          Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin on the moon,  1969

Together, Image from Click Americana                              image from Britannica

 So why should design not follow the push during this period.  Make building odd shaped, colours and patterns to accentuate.

Post Modernism questioned everything, mainly, ‘why do we have to accept the authorities as absolute?’  Question the ‘man’, question the religion, contradict the form.  OPEN THE DOORS!

So, it was extreme, and therefore was under appreciated, maybe social media was needed to give it space.

Introduce the 21st Century.  Is Post Modernism dead.  Don’t believe so, it has just shifted gear, become smoother and sleeker, if not even more individualised.  Let’s take a look at some of the work being produced today:

Piano House Design
Piano House  An Hui Province, China  Image from Our Extreme Home
Bierpinsel © Simon Phipps  from Blue Cow Media
bubble house
Bubble House, France  Image from Trini Luz
yarra valley
Yarra Valley, Victoria Australia.  Image from Extreme Homes.

boat house
Boat House, Santiago, Chile.  Image from Extreme Homes

 Even furniture being designed today fits the post-modern brief.  For example:

flow-okome-nendo-furniture-milan-design-week-2017_dezeen_2364_heroNendo’s Flow Furniture 2017, Alias    Image from Dezeen


Modern, contemporary, traditional, and not quite as much, minimalist are doing well, but postmodern is being left behind.  Is it because we are too scared to step out, are we too scared to actually be individual.  I find it, frustrating for want of a more expressive word, that people can spend $2.3 mill on a renovation for a few rooms, yes buy expensive, but have furniture like everyone else.  Does it not make sense that if your spending big, have something that is you, and expressive of you, not so much expressive of everyone you want to impress!  I have not meet anyone who doesn’t, even secretively, admire something, or someone, for having/being something different.

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