Postmodernism is a European movement in art, philosophy, music, and architecture from the end of the 20th century. Postmodern art is a name that mainly refers to a period of the second half of the 20th century, but it also refers to some aspects of art and thinking from this period. This style is focused on critics of the main values that were important in the Modernist art period in every aspect of life, including philosophy, fine arts, architecture, literature, history and culture.
Postmodern art is an art movement that opposed the Modern art movement, but it was also developed from it. Art Installation, Lend-Art, Conceptual Art, Performance Art and Multimedia, all of these movements are considered to be part of the Postmodern art movement. Postmodern art is considered to be a part of contemporary art. The main terms that are related to Postmodern art are collage, pop art, magical realism and simplification.
Postmodern art tends to offer an alternative solution to modern art, but also to make new artworks that are not made for the high-class society. Not all artworks are understandable to a wide audience, even though Postmodern artists are trying to achieve it. This art movement is one of the most controversial movements in art history. When you look at a postmodern design, you’ll see that this art movement is the total opposite of every previous design movement, and in most cases, this art movement is mocking the previous ones.
Artworks that emerged from the postmodernism art movement can be found in art history as early as the 1940s. But, the most common opinion on the beginning of this art movement is that it started in the 1950s as competition to Modern art, but in the early sixties it finally started winning over Modernism. Since then, this art movement became popular and powerful. This art movement started as a way to show that art doesn’t require any rules to be successful.
Development of Postmodernism After 1950
First, in the 1960s it started as an architecture movement, later in the 1970s, Postmodernism started as an interior design movement. This style lasted until the 1990s. At the bare beginning, this art movement was mainly rejected and mocked by artists from this time period. It was considered ridiculous at the beginning, but later on, mostly in the 90s, this art movement had boomed. After the 90s, many people consider that this art movement had largely gone out of fashion, even with today’s many luxurious homes that are designed in Postmodernist style. Not as popular as it was at the beginning of the movement, yet today Postmodernist design-style is still very much alive and active.
Origin of the Postmodernism Term
The term “Postmodernism” was active for longer than a century before the first postmodern artworks appeared. It was mentioned by many different artists in different art forms and contexts. The term Postmodernism first appeared in the 1870s by John Watkins Chapman, as he suggested to start a new way of painting, departed from the Impressionism, and call it “Postmodern style of painting”. And the last definition of the Postmodern art movement was given in 1996 by Walter Truett Anderson. Walter Truett Anderson described the Postmodern art movements as one of his four typological world-views. These views were Postmodern-ironist, Scientific-rational, Social-traditional, and Neo-romantic.
When it comes to furniture design, the Postmodern design movement is very specific. Postmodern furniture design is a way of enrichment the ennoblement of everyday life, with furniture pieces that didn’t come out from the regular art principles which were active before this period. Instead, inspiration and base for these new designs are found in pop culture, regular people’s desires, needs, and taste. Postmodern furniture design is characterized by irregular forms, shapes, colors, and designs.
Characteristics of Postmodern Furniture Design Period
Some characteristics from the beginning of the Postmodernist period design may vary from the Postmodern furniture design characteristics that are increasingly popular today. In order to make this style more acceptable and easier to fit with other furniture pieces some characteristics have slightly changed, but the main characteristics and features stayed the same. This style is probably easiest to recognize out of all furniture design movements, because of its specific features that were never seen before this art movement. Some of the most important characteristics including the following…
Extravagant and Bright Color Palette
What is probably the best way to recognize whether the design emerged from the Postmodern furniture design period is the specific color palette that cannot be seen in any other furniture design movement. The combination of colors is crazy, without following any rules. The use of very strong and bright colors is popular, added with the element of combining at least 5-6 different colors is what makes this design movement so specific. However, later these expressive and diverse colors became a little less important, so artists started using more natural and lighter colors. So, today’s Postmodern designs these bright colors can be seen, but the lighter more neutral versions are more popular.
Combination of Shapes
Also, one of the most important characteristics that make the uniqueness that Postmodern furniture designs have is the unique shapes and combination of shapes. Asymmetrical shapes in combination with straight lines are what gave the inimitable look that Postmodern furniture designs had.
The main goal of this art movement was to show that previous and modern styles weren’t necessarily superior. So, the most common reason for all designs is a contradiction. Every design is made as a way to show that the rules that were established in the art world should not be applied to the art and design universally and that art should be created by free will. These artists expressed this contradiction with every move they made in the Postmodern art period, including with use of shapes, colors, functionality, irony, humor, and everything else that was formerly applied to the art from this period that was also contradiction to the Modern arts.
Form Doesn’t Necessarily Follow Function
An important characteristic of the Postmodern furniture design period is that they didn’t really care about any norms that were respected. So, they didn’t care about the functionality of the designs they made as much either. Designers were “expressing art,” not functionality. So, everything they did came from a highly artistic but rarely functional or comfortable point-of-view. Designs were pretty, artistic, unique, expressive, bright, and most commonly very unpractical.
Postmodern Furniture Designers Popular Designers and Artworks
The Memphis Group
The Memphis Group is a group of Postmodern designers founded by Ettore Sottsass. They are pioneers of this movement, and their artworks are some of the most popular furniture designs from this art period as well. After the initial introduction by The Memphis Group, the Memphis art movement soon followed as a sub-movement of Postmodernism. This group had a lot of successful artists and all of them left many remarkable designs. This art movement and their artworks are still very popular and many huge global brands today make their designs inspired by the Memphis qrt movement that these artists had initially founded.
Most Popular Furniture Designs from the Memphis Group Designers
Some of the most remarkable artworks from these designers are Ettore Sottsass’s Carlton, Kartell’s flagship store tribute, Martine Bedin’s “Super” Table Lamp, Bel Air Chair by Peter Shire, and many other designs.
Alessandro Mendini was an Italian artist; he played an important role in the Postmodern design movement development. He created in many different popular art styles, but he also made designs in all art forms, including furniture, graphics, architecture, and paintings. He created some very popular artworks that are still popular and very pricey. But, his most important artworks are related to Postmodern furniture.
Alessandro Mendini Most Popular Postmodern Furniture Designs
Mendini’s most popular designs are his Proust Chair 1978, and Alessandro Mendini Chaise Longue Alex in LDPE.
Postmodern Design Today and Its Influence
Some people consider that the Postmodern art movement is irrelevant, outdated and kitschy today. But this art movement is making a comeback in various ways in modern ways of living. Many popular brands such as Adidas, Christian Dior, Supreme and many other worldwide popular brands are using these designs as the inspiration for their designs. Postmodernism is still very influential, not only in art but also in many other aspects of life, such as thinking, literature, architecture, etc. Some people have been vocal in that they consider that this art movement is making a negative impact on today’s design/society. This way of thinking, creating, and influencing is not always acceptable by society’s standards and very often it can be negatively criticized due to its “eccentric tastes.”
Postmodern Furniture Designs Today
Postmodern furniture designs are also creeping back in our homes. Designs are a little bit more adjusted with lighter colors and a little bit more acceptable designs. Everyone who loves to defy the standard art rules will love these furniture pieces in their home. Some high-class homes are even fully furnished in this design. Many celebrities, including Miley Cyrus, are fans of this art movement, so their home interior is completely designed in a Postmodern style. Finding this furniture may be very expensive today, but some pieces can also be found for a very affordable price. Adding few furniture pieces designed in the Postmodern style can add a beautiful and unprecedented look to our home interior.
Postmodern furniture was light-hearted and whimsical, meaning that the designers looked for form over functionality in their work to match the new postmodernist movement. Their idea was that after revolutionizing art and architecture, it was only fair that the couch matched the new era.How did postmodernism influence design? ›
Postmodern designers salvaged and distressed materials to produce an aesthetic of urban apocalypse. Postmodernism had begun as a radical fringe movement in the 1970s, but became the dominant look of the 1980s, the 'designer decade'. Vivid colour, theatricality and exaggeration: everything was a style statement.What are the characteristics of postmodernism design? ›
Postmodern design is often characterised by saturated colours, loud patterns and strong contrasts. Designers never intended their objects to be part of an everlasting fashion; rather they were flashy, faddish and ephemeral. Like these stairs, postmodernism catches your attention rather than blends into the background.What does postmodern design mean? ›
Postmodernism is an eclectic, colourful style of architecture and the decorative arts that appeared from the late 1970s and continues in some form today. It emerged as a reaction to Modernism and the Modern Movement and the dogmas associated with it.What influenced postmodernism? ›
Modernist artists experimented with form, technique and processes rather than focusing on subjects, believing they could find a way of purely reflecting the modern world. While modernism was based on idealism and reason, postmodernism was born of scepticism and a suspicion of reason.What is postmodern interior design style? ›
Postmodern style was a popular interior design scheme that reached its peak between the years of the 1970s through the 1990s. The core idea of this design movement was to break free from mid-century modernism in the household. This style preference celebrates everything vibrant, bold, and aesthetically complex.What are examples of postmodernism? ›
Postmodern movies aim to subvert highly-regarded expectations, which can be in the form of blending genres or messing with the narrative nature of a film. For example, Pulp Fiction is a Postmodern film for the way it tells the story out of the ordinary, upending our expectations of film structure.What is an example of postmodern architecture? ›
Vanna Venturi House, Philadelphia, USA
One of the first examples of postmodern architecture is the Vanna Venturi House, which was built between 1962 and 1964 and designed by Robert Venturi for his mother, Vanna Venturi.
postmodernism, also spelled post-modernism, in Western philosophy, a late 20th-century movement characterized by broad skepticism, subjectivism, or relativism; a general suspicion of reason; and an acute sensitivity to the role of ideology in asserting and maintaining political and economic power.What is a postmodern home? ›
Postmodern architecture, also known as “PoMo,” is a design style that embraces experimentation. The designs are eclectic, colorful, and feature many elements that are purely decorative, with no structural design purpose.
Modern architecture focuses on creating a relationship between the material and structure by relating and adopting them to their present technological era, Whereas Post-modernist architecture emphasizes the vitality of historical elements in design.What are the themes of post modern architecture? ›
There are many themes of ''Postmodern Architecture'' such as history and historicism, meaning and place, urban theories, and ethics in architecture.What are three features of postmodern architecture? ›
Postmodern buildings had curved forms, decorative elements, asymmetry, bright colours, and features often borrowed from earlier periods. Colours and textures were unrelated to the structure or function of the building.What is postmodern graphic design? ›
Post Modernism is actually an umbrella term for many visual styles that came about after the 1980s. They are unified by their reaction to Modernism's guiding principles — particularly that of objectivity. A key feature of Post Modern design is the subjective bias and individual style of the designers that practise it.Who invented postmodern design? ›
The movement was introduced by the architect and urban planner Denise Scott Brown and architectural theorist Robert Venturi in their book Learning from Las Vegas. The style flourished from the 1980s through the 1990s, particularly in the work of Scott Brown & Venturi, Philip Johnson, Charles Moore and Michael Graves.What is meaning of furniture design? ›
What Is Furniture Design? Furniture design is a specialized field where function and fashion collide. Many interior designers believe that furniture is one of the most important aspects of interior space. Pieces of furniture not only add function and practicality to space, but they also add style and personality.Is mid century post modern? ›
Postmodern Design 101
Furniture designed in the mid century, roughly late 1940s-1970s is considered Mid Century Modern, and postmodern has a slight overlap with its designs—ranging from the late 1970s through the 1990s.