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