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Soft Modernism: The World of the Post-Theoretical Designer, by Mike Grimshaw

Le Corbusier
1947, Photogram
Image source: http://www.govettbrewster.com/

Text source: Ctheory

4/8/2004

“Architecture is either the prophecy of an unfinished society or the tomb of a finished one.”
— Lewis Mumford, 1934. [1]

Of all the varying impacts of postmodernity (whatever we can or cannot agree that to mean) one of the most ubiquitous has been the preponderance of Lifestyle as ‘a life of style’ — the “Wallpaper*ization”[2] of the proposed environment we are meant to inhabit. The stylist, the designer, the imitator has sought to create a modernism within postmodern eclecticism. Yet this is a modernism that only embraces the totalitarianism internal to a mis-read Nietzschean-derived will to power and order.

While it could be argued that postmodernism was the triumph of theory over substance, it was a reversal of a Marxist derived modernism: now all that melts becomes solid in the air. Like melting substances, disorder became the form of representation. Like a melting substance, that which seemed ephemeral became attached, sometimes organic, sometimes as collage but always, and this is crucial, as a form of ornamentation.

Read the entire text at Ctheory

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