Effects of New Materials on Design in First Half of Twentieth Century Discussion


Think about the innovations explored by designers at the turn of the 20th century, particularly the integration of new construction materials, the reinterpretation of forms, and the shift in thinking neatly encapsulated by Louis Sullivan’s famous adage “form follows function.”

Then, making reference to the weekly readings, answer the following questions in relation to the International, Art Deco, and Scandinavian Modern design movements:

  1. How does using “new” materials, such as metal, concrete, or glass, in place of “old” materials such as stone, brick, or wood, affect design in the first half of the 20th century?
  2. How does the widespread shift in thinking, privileging functionality over formal or aesthetic characteristics, shape design in the 20th century?
  3. Are there any designs created during this period that you see still in use today?
  4. Why do you think these forms remain relevant in contemporary design?

When answering please include the following components:

1. One or more images to help illustrate your argument

2. Captions, immediately beneath your images, in the following format:

Fig. 1. Artist/Architect.Title of object/structure. Date. Medium. Dimensions. Geographic location. (Web address/URL)

***Please see the Course Information & Policies link “Captioning Images” for more information about captions.

3. Terminology from our readings

4. In-text citations and references (where necessary)

***Please see the Course Information & Policies link “Avoiding Plagiarism” for more information about citing and referencing your work.