Modernism, Postmodernism, Post-postmodernism and design

Modernism, said Charles Jencks, died with the demolition of the Pruitt-Igoe housing project in Chicago.
Post-modernism appears to be dying with the demolition of Marco Polo House in London (see video).
Post-postmodern (Post-POMO) design may arrive when designers recover the confidence to blend reason with beliefs eg in Vitruvius’ design objectives: design should be functional, multi-objective, sustainable and meaningful.

  • There was something really good about modernism, because design should be functional.
  • And there was something really good about postmodernism, because design should be multi-valent.
  • But something will always be missing if design is based on reason alone: for Commodity, Firmness and Delight, designers must also hold beliefs.

PS of these three words, the most problematic is ‘Delight’. It suggests the type of pleasure you get from a pudding, like Raspberry Delight, rather than the more serious objectives which have led the development of the arts from century to century.

5 thoughts on “Modernism, Postmodernism, Post-postmodernism and design

  1. Christine

    Tom – you are very good at coining a name – Post-POMO! (I am not sure whether reading this gave me a raspberry pudding moment but there was definitely delight!) From this experience delight it seems is a little like wonder but with a spontaneous element of joy. So yes, as a child, the first mouthful of raspberry pudding may have had this effect. Perhaps that is why people around the world are still searching for culinary delights even in adulthood? [ ]

    1. Tom Turner Post author

      Maybe Wotton should have translated Vitruvius’ aims as Commodity, Firmness and Pavlova.
      Sadly, I did not invent the term Post-POMO. It is a handier phrase than post-Postmodern (though even this can sound good with a quick-quick-slow rhythm). Written postpomo (a bit like postpone) the word is good enough to earn a place in the lexicon of the fine arts.

  2. Christine

    I am wondering whether the eyes and the heart are somehow connected in this – because of the saying the eyes are the window to the soul?


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