Contemplating Modern Design

Currently, in our experience as a San Antonio architecture and interior design firm, people are very interested in what they term “modern style” in interior design and architecture. There is a strong pull toward the “less is more” idea and away from ornamentation on the exterior of home–and certainly in the interior as well. Today’s client expresses a desire for design that elicits a sense of calm and ease, which comes from a space with straight lines and soothingly neutral color palettes.

While we fully support this idea, we in the industry silently (and just in our heads) may autocorrect our clients when they ask for “modern design,” as we think to ourselves, “they mean to say CONTEMPORARY design.”  

In our contemporary lives, we increasingly look to an early period–the true “modern period” that, depending on your source began as early at 1890 and ran through the 1960s and into the 1970s. During that period with the rise of the middle class and the development of new types of construction a more stripped down style became popular that rejected the more ornate Art Nouveau and Victorian styles.

The period is defined at its start by Thonet with his affection for bent wood. It moved into the Bauhaus movement and onward through the Art Deco and into the Mid Century Modern that defines post-WWII design.

There was a period in-between here, in America at least, that called itself Post Modern (1980s) which referred back to other moments in our design history such as Regency design and Federalist styles, but it was a very unattractive period that many agree we would all just as soon forget.

The contemporary client craves a return to the simpler Modern style with large windows, simple flat roofs or simplified farmhouse styles for exteriors and an interior that focuses first on function!  

Our clients particularly admire the post-WWII enthusiasm and positivity in their design which rejects the old-fashioned and looks to a new world of efficiency and clean lines. Today’s clients would rather focus on interesting materials like reclaimed wood or concrete for a feeling of authenticity rather than focusing on the fancy or ornate styles that they feel are dated.

Design Tips for contemporizing or modernizing your home:

  • Focus in architecture on bringing the outside in with expanses of glass and steel that are possible with new modes of construction and on the interior
  • Pair down belongings
  • Design functional storage for ease of use and space saving and leaving open spaces in their home to allow the eye a much-needed place to rest from our busy lifestyles

We discuss topics and tips in our Design Discovery Events. Join us for our next, or Contact Us to schedule a complimentary initial consultation.

Photo: Farnsworth House / Mike Crews

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