Geometric Modern

Geometric Modern continues the design language and many of the ideas of the Bauhaus and International Style through work of the originators and their followers. Key characteristics include functionalism, geometric forms, little applied decoration, and new materials and technologies.

Remember, during the 1930’s and 1940’s, the world of design is in turmoil. The rise of Fascism in Germany and Italy and the militaristic expansion of Japan through much of East Asia stifle growth. World War II brings more world involvement and greater destruction across the globe than WWI. So, World’s Fair Exhibitions take refuge in the United States where a futuristic and streamlined look becomes the major outlet for creative expansion.

1. Geometric Modernism defines both public and private architecture because it is economical, easy to construct, and adaptable to a variety of building types and user/client needs.
2. Walter Gropius, Marcel Breuer, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and Le Corbusier both defines and dominates the style.
3. New Brutalism develops, which is a modern architecture composed of bold concrete in geometric forms.
4. The corporate office building is a new building type by Geometric Modernism. They take two forms: a high-rise, glass box in an urban context OR an expansive single or group of buildings set within a campus-like landscape.
5. Look for these attributes: glass curtain wall facade with bronze grid and no ornamentation, straight edges define the corporate glass box, main entry at plaza/street level, base raised on columns, and a granite plaza in front.

The lighter scale, airiness, and visual weight of Geometric Modern furniture eminently suit modern rooms, whether residential or commercial. Furniture often has a machine aethetic, blending with the hard-edged geometry of the architecture and interiors.
1. Many pieces are multi-purpose or modular for flexibility.
2. Knoll, Inc. and Herman Miller begin aggressively marketing good design.
3. “Good design is good business.”
4. Manufacturers and designers, like the Herman Miller Company and Florence Knoll, increasingly strive to create or produce office furniture that suits modern offices and aids the process of work. Therefore, suits of office furniture, room dividers, and storage systems are important.
5. Characteristics include: slender metal or wooden legs, lightness, man-made materials, and a machine aesthetic.
6. Common materials: rubber, plywood, foam rubber, aluminum, and plastic laminates.

Symbols and Motifs:
Modern buildings have no motifs or references to the past. Geometric shapes are the dominant motif, with architectural details spotlighted.

Decorative Arts:
The Modern style is sleek and simple with no ornament, and extends to the decorative arts, including clocks, glassware, dishes, cutlery, vases, and other accessories. Most commercial spaces have few decorative accessories, while houses have more that are usually in bright colors to coordinate with color schemes. Plants are a common feature in homes.

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