Pop Art Rooms
April 17, 2017 7:43 AM   Subscribe

Wake-up call for your eyes are these rooms, mostly from the 1970s. We've gotten so blah in our designs and need more of this back.
posted by MovableBookLady (15 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
Neat stuff. Jumps out to me how much saturated red there is in a lot of these, to the point of feeling a little claustrophic/oppressive even just at a glance; neat conceptually but something I'd rather see in a scene in a film than actually spend more than a couple minutes in. Ditto the monowheel furniture which I think is delightful but also know I'd be back out of after ten minutes and not return.

Which seems like the challenge of a lot of this more daring, full throttle color and design; to create a cool, interesting effect in a room is one thing, to create a space that feels comfortable and usable is another, and I think most of this work ends up going so far in service of the former that it fails (for a lot of people, obviously not for everyone) to make a practical go of the latter. But then, I'm not sure that may have been exactly where Panton was trying to be; you could as easily criticize runway showpieces for not being much use on casual Fridays.
posted by cortex at 8:05 AM on April 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

to create a cool, interesting effect in a room is one thing, to create a space that feels comfortable and usable is another

Like, say, Hotel Astoria, Trondheim. Panton's design installed in 1960, media loved it, customers and employees hated it (the "op art" textile patterns were apparently disorienting enough that people ended up walking into walls and pillars), torn out and thrown away 2.5 years later.

(And then there's the "plastic, the miracle material of the future!" thinking of this era, which quickly turned into "why do all these things look like shit after some minor wear and tear and a bit of sunlight?", to the extent that they stopped manufacturing some of his furniture designs for a while.)
posted by effbot at 9:26 AM on April 17, 2017 [2 favorites]

Conversely, a lot of the truly garish home designs seen in certain eras (see: late '70s) were partially an issue with the adoption of certain design aspects without the follow-through a complete remodel would allow.

Shag carpet in some sort of lounge design with modernist furniture and a conversation pit may have worked. Shag carpeting with the sofa you inherited from your uncle and traffic going directly from the outdoors or kitchen that tracked all kinds of junk into the carpet, less so.
posted by mikeh at 9:36 AM on April 17, 2017 [2 favorites]

Very cool, thank you! Here's a site by a guy who has decorated his home in all Panton stuff: "Welcome to PANTONWORLD and the largest Verner Panton collection in the world. My name is Niklas and I live in Gothenburg, Sweden." The rooms section has a lot of photos of the interiors, and there are also pages of fabrics, furnishings, etc.
posted by taz at 9:54 AM on April 17, 2017 [2 favorites]

The rooms section has a lot of photos of the interiors, and there are also pages of fabrics, furnishings, etc.

I think something must have gone wrong with your link. When I clicked on it, I didn't see a house that could actually exist on Earth but instead pictures of the living quarters in Star Trek: The Next Generation.
posted by meese at 10:29 AM on April 17, 2017 [3 favorites]

I was there. This is not inaccurate. I remember being a little kid (eight years old) at Expo 67 in Montreal -- getting my first real exposure to the pop WOW future that was coming, everything molded and vivid and, if it was edible, your parents wouldn't let you have too much as it would rot your teeth. I suppose the blemish started coming off by the early-mid 70s, maybe that first early teen hangover morning. Too much plastic and artificial sweetening.
posted by philip-random at 10:48 AM on April 17, 2017

These are gorgeously psychedelic! My favorite so far is the Visiona Bayer Boat; the almost visceral color and complete lack of straight edges makes me feel like I'm looking at the inside of a gigantic, bioluminescent organism that just sorta loves having humans hanging out inside it rather than once-extant architecture.

Most of these are definitely spaces to explore as artworks in themselves more than habitable, functional spaces to live and work in, but that's not a point against in my book.
posted by byanyothername at 11:39 AM on April 17, 2017

Love this stuff, but I can understand why it fell out of favor too.
posted by freakazoid at 11:48 AM on April 17, 2017

Look, these are perfectly serviceable living spaces. All you have to do is remove the people, and they're FINE.
posted by happyroach at 2:31 PM on April 17, 2017

These are awesome. Thank you. And just the right timing. I went to see this Kusama Yayoi exhibition yesterday and learned that she did furniture design as well. They had a whole "Yellow Trees" room like this.
posted by Gotanda at 3:33 PM on April 17, 2017 [2 favorites]

Where did all the colors go?
Was it the beginning of end-less war in the early '90's that sucked it out of our lives?
Clothes all in khaki, black or grey.
Thanks goodness for used stuff stores!
posted by Mesaverdian at 3:35 PM on April 17, 2017

The colours are wonderful, but my god, those chairs look uncomfortable, unless the sitter is very young and bendy. It's all very well making furniture in exciting avant-garde shapes, but ultimately your sculptural chairs have to accommodate the human bottom, which has remained much the same shape throughout history. Mind you, this seems to be a perennial problem - a friend of mine has a copy of the Rietveld Red and Blue chair and it is pleasingly sculptural but the single least comfortable chair I have ever sat in, possibly because my backside doesnt come to a point. And that was designed in 1917.

I am old enough to remember how drab the fifties looked and how wonderful all those bright sixties colours looked, although I mainly came across them in films and magazines rather than real life. The saturated colours did appear in clothes though, which was wonderful (still wistfully remembering my royal purple trouser suit worn with a bright pink silk scarf, soo good after years of navy blue school uniform).
posted by Fuchsoid at 5:00 PM on April 17, 2017

Mesaverdian: "Where did all the colors go?"

Why does Black, White, Grey, Silver and Brown comprise 80% of new car colours? Even the 50s weren't this boring.
posted by Mitheral at 7:17 PM on April 17, 2017

You're not getting the idea this is a dull time, are you?
posted by bongo_x at 7:52 PM on April 17, 2017

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