I’ve been mulling over something I read on Huffington Post last month, an op-ed piece by House Beautiful editor Stephen Drucker in the wake of Metropolitan Home’s closing announcement. He makes the point that the battle over “traditional” style vs. “hip” trends is getting tired, and that design now should “not just [be] the lone-chair-in-an-empty-room stories in the T section of The New York Times; it’s about the dynamic, original thinking going on across the working design community every day.” I thought I’d flesh my thoughts on the issue: where are we going in “modern” design?
The use of the word “modern” can become a bit of a tricky one, especially when referring to art and design. It has academic and colloquial definitions that are not necessarily consistent with each other. However, Drucker’s use of “modern” and his evaluations of the direction of design I think are quite apt.
There seems to be a conflicting cycle of what is “hip” becoming mainstream, as Druker speaks out against. By becoming mainstream, I argue, it intrinsically is no longer hip. I think this is a valid point to be examined, especially by those in the “modern” and “cutting edge” scene. How much responsibility does the media in this world have to present what is truly new and may be the “biggest geek” versus what is being supported and selling at the current time?
We also live in a world where so many styles have come and passed that it is almost impossible to come up with something that is truly new and does not beg, borrow, or steal from its predecessors. For this reason, I agree wholeheartedly with Drucker that there exists “modern” thinking in some many different areas that are all too often overlooked because they don’t fit the assumed aesthetic. As we are finding with the current “green” movement, it is sometimes the process and approach that are “modern,” not necessarily the end product.
I am saddened to see Met Home go under, and I do not wish that fate on any publication. I hope that out of these difficulties positives will come for those who are still running. I hope the constant search for what will be the new “modern” is revitalized and is color blind to our previous constructs and categories.