The Future is Now
Judith Davidsen -- Interior Design, 3/1/2007 12:00:00 AM
Sometimes it becomes necessary to boldly go where no man has gone before—to install a reception area where there isn't room for one or to push the envelope with technology. Because yesterday's solutions don't solve today's problems. Because doing the same thing over and over again stops bringing us delight. Because the nutty has a way of becoming cherished. For instance, the neighbors who once thought Pierre Cardin's bubble house by Antti Lovag was crazy now consider this Côte d'Azur maverick a monument.
Testing limits is, in fact, very modern. Get rid of royal and ecclesiastical elites, and creative types end up with a clientele of entrepreneurs and government agencies. Moneyed, yes, but nowhere near flush enough to afford the craftsmanship that the erstwhile patrons both delighted in and intimidated with. If design was to survive under these new conditions, it had to start crossing boundaries like mad.
Attempts to mass-produce the old favorites were a failure, resulting in some amazingly ugly things. Designers then spent a century or more in pursuit of industrially produced merchandise that would nevertheless be beautiful. In the process, they grew to exalt color and shape over ornament and to value truth to (frequently new) materials. Hence the tradition of breaking with tradition.