Modern Defined

April 2, 2013

WhatisModern

What does “modern” mean to me today in my work? I would have to say it means a lot more to me than a particular style of architectural minimalism, or a technology, or a trend, whatever the color—green (environmental), blue or chartreuse…

I do believe in the intrinsic value system behind “less is more”. Today, this is relevant as a lifetime less energy consumed, less material wasted, less turn-over because of fashion or technology–and specifically this means to me, getting by with less; sharing more, and engaging local talent to inspire local values in terms of appropriate design style.

Modern to me means understanding the cultural/techno complexity of modern society and applying the appropriate energy and aesthetic in design to reflect that complexity in the simplest terms. Modern must inspire the emotions and spark the creative individuality of both creator and end user over time. Modern cannot be forever shackled to the bare-bones “form follows function” adage, locked in a perpetual winter of only the dark, bare branches against the snow–modern must also be able to find elegant simplicity in the complexities of the other three seasons as well–bursts of new forms in spring, full-blown summers, and color-laden falls, are as relevant to “modern” as to life. Modern can’t chase trends seasonally like prêt-à-porter chases haute-couture. Contemporary modern should hurry slowly toward timeless quality… and it probably can be found right in front of us in the not too distant past.

– Fu-Tung Cheng