Tomorrowland

'Today we can't make up our minds how to live. We can't live in white spaces anymore even if we try. Our personalities are really showing through. There isn't one vision of how a house should be.'

With the rage for midcentury revivalism comes the prevailing theory that we are perhaps in a new Victorian age, including even more revivals than the real Victorian Age. Even the purest of midcentury modernists and industrialists are really fixed not only in the '50s and '60s but likely have their feet in eight decades, collecting 1930s French nightclub booths and 1980s Japanese electronics.

Poet and professor Diane Stevenson, informally observing design from her sunken living room in a co-op in Riverdale, said, "Victorianism was associated with the British Empire and the high point of colonization. The eclecticism and sometimes confusion that we see in the American interior today may well be reflecting our own high point of globalism."

The seeming confusion could also be that "today we can't make up our minds how to live," said Bruce Hannah's friend Tanya Van Cott. "We can't live in white spaces anymore even if we try. Our personalities are really showing through. There isn't one vision of how a house should be."

Pink House, 1998, Courtesy Of Laurie Simmons And Metro Pictures

The one person who should have been able to live in an ideal modernist space was Le Corbusier, said Van Cott. "He designed these perfect white houses. He lived in one of his houses but the room he actually lived in was a room in back with all objects and stuff that made him happy as a human being. The big space was like a showplace, and he kept the door closed."


One of four articles in our Shelter Supplement.

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