Postmodernism and Global Design, 1980 – 1990s. A lecture by Maria Savostyanova

Lecture cycle: Twentieth and Twenty-first century design
16 March 2018


Humor and deconstruction as paradigm features of postmodernist culture: Maria Savostyanova will track these and other trends that shaped world design of the given period.

By the 1980s, modernist values had been fully replaced by a radically different aesthetic: the transition from the idea of authorship and novelty initiated in literature soon transferred to visual arts, design and architecture. The “new international style” introduced by the Memphis group founded in Italy in 1980 implied eclectic contamination of styles instead of the modernist cult of functional things and building. Very quickly, these ideas penetrated the entire Western culture.

Maria Savostyanova will speak about the pioneers of European and American postmodernism—Ettore Sottsass, Alessandro Mendini, Andrea Branzi and Michael Graves, as well as the bold experiments of Japan’s Shiro Kuramata, Arata Isozaki and Masanori Umeda. Fashion design also experienced revolutionary changes. Comme des Garçons founder Rei Kawakubo deconstructed the familiar cut and promoted anti-fashion, while in Britain Vivienne Westwood’s eccentric outfits became signature style of The Sex Pistols and other punk rockers.

Another notable trend saw Philippe Starck rethinking the stereotyped vision of hotel design. In 1988 the Frenchman completed his first boutique hotel, Royalton New York, whose interiors articulated irony and freshness that defined the overall mood of the era.


Maria Savostyanova is an art historian and design critic, Deputy Editor-in-Chief at Interior+Design, and author of over 350 articles on consumer and collectible design. She has been reviewing major contemporary art and design exhibitions for fifteen years.




Free admission with advance registration


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