Living in a modernist world (then & now)

Washington, D.C.


I’m writing this post, appropriately enough, from my Wassily Chair.

Over the weekend, we had a chance to go to “Modernism: Designing a New World 1914 – 1939,” a new traveling exhibit from London currently on display at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. It was a really interesting look at a movement that continues to play a tremendous role in design today.

Looking at Bauhaus teapots, futurist “Frankfurt Kitchens” that were designed to increase efficiency and models of Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoy, it was hard not to also think of Ikea furniture, Snaidero kitchens or the Hurshhorn Museum here in D.C.

Modernism was about revolutionizing the way we live – it was thought that we could view buildings as “machines for living in.” With its emphasis on simplicity, clean lines and open plans, it was about the universal idea of freeing your mind and life of clutter and the extraneous — and instead focusing on the things that really mattered.

Perhaps this is why, at 90 years old, it’s just as relevant now as it was then.

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