MODERNITY AND DURABILITY. Perspectives for the Culture of Design
The orthodox concept of the Modern, as it was passed down from the 1920s to the post-war era, has been in a state of crisis for quite some time. This is particularly visible in the fields of urban planning, architecture, and design. Theorists and practitioners have either fiercely defended it as a crowning historical achievement to be upheld and further cultivated, or dismissively rejected it as a short-lived and outdated episode that needs to be replaced with something different and new. Architectural theorist and practitioner Vittorio Magnago Lampugnani suggests a third option: that we reformulate our understanding of the Modern, continuing to pursue its original social and humanist ambitions while radically re-examining its ideological, political, social, technical, functional, economic, ecological, and aesthetic assumptions. Our world, which continues to be shaken by dreadful wars, is also being sapped and polluted by our thoughtlessness and our greed. The capitalist compulsion to turn everything into a commodity has led to needless production and consumption, and we are both victims and accomplices of this predicament. The consumerist frenzy has brought completely new forms of exploitation and exacerbated the unjust inequalities between different parts of our world. Starting from these premises, the author puts forward a new design approach that strives for – and is defined by – durability. This is an approach that rejects the frivolous waste of resources and superficial proliferation of images that have become commonplace today. It offers an alternative to the contemporary fixation on spectacles, both hollow and dangerous, and instead calls for measured restraint and substantial simplicity.