Mark Bryan Weighs In On The Resurgence Of Mod Mix
In my latest installment for Mohawk’s blog, I thought I would tackle two trends: first, a resurgence of historical styles with a Mod twist, and second, a rekindling of texture that borders on creating a mélange that any Gestalt fanatic would love to analyze.
Like a pendulum, the design world and history like to swing from one extreme to the next, picking up bits and pieces of our history and twisting them into something new. Today’s changes/influencers are coming from the eras of the 1960s and 1970s. Our fashion is highlighted with touches of fur lining on vests, overly voluminous caftans or jackets, and boutique garments that hint at the tailor-made, mod fashion style.
If you are questioning this to be true, then I would encourage you to take a look at the television shows we are seeing offered and what wardrobe similarities you might find between a character’s closet and your own. A great past example is Mad Men, which gave way to a rise in seeing more plaid in men’s suit jackets; but a newer series is the sitcom This is Us, which actually flips back and forth between the present and the past. Watch closely and you can see how our current fashion mirrors the aforementioned era.
So, how is this presenting in the design world? Well, mainly in textiles. We see it in the desire to use velvet and plaids, as well as the use of some colors that might have been previously taboo, dare I say garish, like harvest gold or avocado green.
Furniture from these two eras has also exploded, and like a mad shopper on Black Friday we are instinctively seizing every opportunity to use it. We’ve actually been seeing some interesting outcomes accompanying the use of Mod or Mid-Century Modern furniture. When used smartly, it has the ability to create a calming effect when the pieces are set into a neutral space, yet can also make a loud statement when paired with bright, plush upholsteries. Regardless of how they are used, they foster a reflection of our heritage for users of the space.
Another historical reference we are frequently seeing is neon, which saw its end towards the 1960s. However, its reemergence was not in lighting, as one might suspect. Pantone’s 2016 Colors of the Year have evolved into almost neon-like colors, which have been applied to art and photography. We may be obsessed with today’s technology, but we are also obsessed with the future of technology, and art is a primal way we can experience that. So in taking the brightness of neon and channeling it, we have created more approachable futuristic artwork.
Neon landscapes, photography and art installations have become the medium by which we see those Rose Quartz and Serenity colors, sometimes even dialed up 1000% like the art installations seen at London’s Biennale.
And, speaking of dialed up, this brings me to the next trend I want to discuss: texture. Texture, texture, texture! But, this isn’t just about tactility, although that is the primary reason and sense we want to experience when seeing this trend. It’s about creating almost a camouflage of pattern on pattern to make up a composition. In other words, in a land once ruled by pure simple forms, visual texture has become king. One of the major ways this has been manifesting is in our flooring and wallcoverings.
If you have taken any kind of design or psychology class then you probably have heard of the Gestalt theory. The basic principle behind this theory is that the mind likes to take separate elements and merge them into a whole composition. This is why you can see a flower in a black and white image, but someone else sees a bat instead. It may seem a bit chaotic or cluttered, but when using the various textures and layering them together, spaces have become striking, bold, and most of all, signature. All things that can help create a uniquely branded space.
In reality, these trends force us to look at things once defined as taboo to use or do, and redefine their role in our world. The Mod subculture was born out of youth and a desire for a change, which is what Millennials strive for, so it is no wonder we are seeing this influence rise once more. We as people also do not tend to like living under blanket statements, and in our living evolution we look for ways that we can break the mold to make what we know as definitive, better. In essence, these trends force us to become idea changers, challengers, and educators, to push boundaries and dare to try to mix this with that. As the saying goes, “If you forget your past, you are doomed to repeat it.”
So, here is to what we’ve learned from what was and what is yet to come.
Guest blogger Mark Bryan of M+A Architects is a self-proclaimed design generalist, and has worked in the multi-story housing, workplace design, hospitality, retail branding, spiritual and public sectors. A graduate of Virginia Tech, his approach to design is largely influenced by the cultural changes and shifts that occur in the world, whether they are major trends or subtle cues. His creativity also stems from collaboration with his clients and finding out which challenges they face that can be solved by design, the architectural world, the blending of the interiors with the exterior, and digging into the details where true design lives. “Using design for the betterment of others is done through investigation, imagination, caring and devotion.”