Postmodernism

Room 76 | Closed 11 November 2019 until June 2020 for refurbishment

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From about 1970 to 1990, Postmodernism shattered established ideas about design and art. A brilliant mix of theatrical and theoretical, Postmodernism ranges from the colourful to the ruinous, the luxurious to the ludicrous. It is a visually thrilling multifaceted style which so famously defies definition.

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Whether surfaces were glossy, faked or deliberately distressed, the Postmodern object reflected the desire to combine subversive statements with commercial appeal. Our collection includes examples by Italian designers – especially the groups Studio Alchymia and Memphis.

Collection Highlights

armchair
Poltrona di Proust, armchair, designed by Alessandro Mendini/Studio Alchymia, 1978, Milan, Italy
bowl
So Long Frank Lloyd Wright Bowl, bowl, by Mark Lindquist, 1994, Florida, US
cabinet
Cabinet de Curiosité, cabinet, designed by Shiro Kuramata, manufactured by Ishimaru Co., Ltd., 1988, Tokyo, Japan
bowl
Isotta, bowl, designed by Bořek Šípek, made for Driade SpA, 1987, Czech Republic
stereo system
Concrete Stereo, stereo system, designed by Ron Arad, 1983, London, England
sugar basin and spoon
The Mickey Mouse Gourmet Collection, kettle, designed by Michael Graves, made by Möller Associates, 1991, China
armchair
Westside Lounge, armchair, designed by Ettore Jr Sottsass, manufactured by Knoll Studio, 1983, Italy
lamp prototype
Super lamp prototype, designed by Martine Bedin, made by Fausto Celati, about 1977 – 81, Milan, Italy
poster
Poster advertising the music group Kraftwerk at Musikhalle, Hamburg, 20th century
poster
Poster, by Hans-Jürgen Burkhard, commissioned by Oliviero Toscani, 1992
design
Design for the the AT&T Building, by Philip Johnson, Raj Ahuja and John Burgee, 1978, US
cocktail glass
Memphis cocktail glass, by Richard Holloway, 20th century
sideboard
Casablanca, sideboard, designed by Ettore Sottsass Jr, manufactured by Memphis, 1981, Milan, Italy
design drawing
Design drawing for a melon scoop, designed by Pino Spagnolo, 1991, Italy
chair
Bel Air, chair, designed by Peter Shire, produced by Memphis, 1982, Los Angeles, US
chair
Little Heavy, chair, designed by Ron Arad, made by by One Off Ltd, 1989, London, England

Features

Background image: © Victoria and Albert Museum, London