Modernism and Design Aust Essay

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Pages: 12

modern design Ta b l e o f c o n t e n t s
Modernisation and its effects on the world

What is

WWI and its effects on modernism 07
and its effects on

Modernism and its effects on Melbourne at the time

Modernist design in Australia at the time 12
The promotion of
Modern Australia

Less, but better – because it concentrates on the essential aspects,

are not burdened with non-essentials.
Back to purity, back to simplicity.
(Dieter Rams)

your magazine name

m o der n design aust rali a

and the products


M e l b o u r n e Au s tra l i a

m o der n design aust rali a

Flinders St & Swanston St, early 1930s


A Modern
Way of Life
M od e r n is m , M oder n i sati o n a n d M o d er nit y in Aust ralia, 1919 –1939

M o d e r n i s a t i o n a n d i t ’s
Modernisation is an expression that is extensively used to describe the changes in the Western world around the time of the Industrial
Revolution. The Industrial Revolution is the historical term that was used to define the social and economic changes that saw the shift from a steady agricultural and sustainable society to a modern industrial society, with immense technological advances in machinery and materials. Modernism is word that is difficult to define in some ways, as it is a term that is so broadly used, but modestly put it describes a group of cultural movements that changed Western Society within art, architecture, music and literature. This article will cover the relationship between Modernism, Modernisation and modernity in Melbourne within the inter-war period that stretched from 1919 to
1939, focusing on magazines and advertising; promoting Modern
Australia and a modern way of life.

Modernism can be traced back to the beginning of the Industrial
Revolution in the mid 18th century. Modernism originated in Europe and rapidly spread it’s influences around the world and still has an immense influence on design today. Some of the key styles of modern art that had a significant impact are Bauhaus, Impressionism, Constructivism and Art
Nouveau. In particular the Bauhaus movement was an important part of the Modernist art movement in the sense that it’s manifesto and key changed the way that people thought about design. Instead of heavy ornamented products, Bauhaus took on a more simplistic and functional approach, which demonstrates the key Modernist design principle that “form follows function” (Louis H. Sullivan). One of the key modernist designers was
Le Corbusier (formerly Charles-Edouard Jeanneret-Gris). He was an influential architect that supported the principles that “form follows function” (Louis H. Sullivan) within his work. Flora Samuel quotes Le
Corbusier in her writings about the architect “From a unity of idea that reaches from the unity of materials used to the unity of the general contour” (Samuel, 2007, p. 1). This quotation encompasses modernism and it’s key principle.

m o der n design aust rali a

effects on the world


Figure 1 : B a rcelona
C hair
Designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe,
1929 (Bauhaus era), displays strong elements of modernist design.

“The sun as the expres-

sion of old world energy s torn down from the

heavens by modern man,

who by virtue of his

technological superiorty creates his own ener-

WWI and its effects

Fi gure 2: El L issit z k y
‘Cover for Artists Brigade, 1932’


Although Modernism took place decades before WWI, the trauma of the war accelerated the modern art movement and reshaped the way people saw the world and the notion of ‘what art is’. “World War I definitely gives a push forward to the idea of dystopia rather than utopia, to the idea that the world is going to get worse rather than better” (Johnson, 2012), this quote embodies the feeling at the time that new machines and technologies were moving in to replace humans and therefore craftsman and their jobs. After the war an effort was made within the Modernist

movement to advocate a