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publish date: March 26|2002   

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Post-Modern Perspectives

Josef Hoffman
1903

Josef Hoffman teapot

Michael Graves
1985

Michael Graves teapot
click to compare

This is the first in a series of articles that will examine the history, development, significance, and collector's interest in post-modern design.

Post-modernism in design is generally thought of as a break from the credos of modernism, "form follows function" and "less is more". More accurately, post-modernism represented a break from the prevailing branch of modernism that began with the Bauhaus, developing into International Style, and coming to fruition with Mid-Century Modern. Prior to the Bauhaus, early modernism embraced stylish form and surface decoration, both of which were resurrected by post-modernism.

For your consideration, we present here two iconic objects produced at opposite ends of the timeline of modernism. At top is a teapot designed by Josef Hoffman's Wiener Werkstatte in 1903. Incredibly striking for its day, it features a geometric handle and a sleek body with hand detailing including "rivets", a distinctly mechanical and modern motif. Pictured at bottom is Michael Graves "bird" teapot for Alessi designed 82 years later - one of the most famous and best selling objects designed in the post-modern style. Equally striking when it was produced, it too was distinct when compared to the many designs commercially available at the time of its release. Graves teapot shares the same "rivet" motif as the 1903 model and its circular handle seems to suggest that things have come full circle.



CONTRIBUTORS BIO:


Karl Taps is the owner of Banal Design, a web site specializing in post-modern design.


RELATED LINKS:


Banal Design

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