Modernism

Room 74 and throughout the Museum

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Modernism in design and architecture emerged in the aftermath of the First World War and the Russian Revolution – a period when the artistic avant-garde dreamed of a new world free from history and tradition.

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During the years between the World Wars, Modernist design and art shared certain underlying principles: a rejection of decoration and applied ornament; a preference for abstraction; and a belief that design and technology could transform society. This utopian spirit pervades the V&A's collection: from everyday objects to feats of technological inspiration.

Collection Highlights

desk lamp
Dell-Lampe Type K, desk lamp, designed by Christian Dell, made by Zimmermann GmbH, 1929, Germany
Neu-Berlin, cup and saucer, designed by Trude Petri, manufactured by Staatliche Porzellanmanufaktur, 1931, Germany. Museum no. C.26:1&2-2009. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
armchair
Paimio Armchair, designed by Alvar Aalto, manufactured by Huonekalu-ja Rakennustyötehdas Oy, 1930, Finland
desk
Desk, Denham Maclaren, about 1929, England
teapot
Tea pot, Naum Slutzky, 1928, Germany
armchair
MR20, armchair, designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, manufactured by Thonet, 1927, Germany
Kaufmann Office (detail), panelled room, Frank Lloyd Wright, 1935 – 37, USA. Museum no. T.40:1&2-2005. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
armchair
The Red Blue Chair, armchair, designed by Gerrit Thomas Rietveld, made by Gerard A. van der Groenekan, 1918, Netherlands
Hanging, designed by Gunta Stölzl, weaved by Anna Albers, 1926 (designed), 1967 (made), Germany. Museum no. CIRC.534-1968. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Savoy, vase, designed by Alvar Aalto, manufactured by Karhula. Museum no. C.226-1987. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Penguin Donkey, bookcase, designed by Egon Riss, manufactured by Isokon Furniture Company, 1939, England. Museum no. W.19:1 to 3-1993. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
MT8, table lamp, Wilhelm Wagenfeld, about 1924, Germany. Museum no. M.28&A-1989. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Frankfurt Kitchen (detail), Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky, 1926 – 27, Germany. Museum no. W.15:1 to 89-2005. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Ensemble reproduction, designed by Aleksandr Mikailovich Rodchenko, made by Air Morishita, 1922 (designed), 2005 (made), France. Museum no. T.40:1&2-2005. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
drawing
Drawing, Edward McKnight Kauffer, 1934, England
EKCO AC 74, radio, designed by Serge Chermayeff, manufactured by E. K. Cole Ltd, 1933, England. Museum no. CIRC.12-1977. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Britain by Mass Observation, book, written by Charles Madge & Tom Harrisson, published by Penguin Books, 1939, Uk. Museum no. CT137830. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Bracelet, Naum Slutzky, 1930, Germany. Museum no. CIRC.1236-1967. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

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