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Petra on pottery

featuring West German art pottery, Fat Lava and more 20th century ceramics

In the 1950s people were leaving the dark days of war and shortage behind. In the recovering cities, architects and city planners were building a new future for a baby booming population. This meant building for a better life, with better housing in better neighborhoods. In some places, more of the old city was being demolished to make way for the ‘new and improved’ than had been destroyed during the war. Such was the enthusiasm for the fresh start. Brighter days were lying ahead.

This also called for a fresh, new style indoors. Of course a lot of people would still go for a more traditional style in their homes, but if you were anywhere near hip, you would go for modern patterns for your walls, your furnishing and your vases. It was the only proper match with your ‘Good Design’ furniture. Modernist architects had banned ornament years before the war, deeming it irrational, immoral or even a crime according to Austrian architect Adolf Loos. So simplicity and functionality were to be the rule in modern architecture and design. But although three dimensional ornament would be absolute taboo, in a two dimensional plane designers could go absolutely wild! And so they did. Inspired by art, science or technology, mostly abstracted patterns were produced in every color you could think of. Color and pattern, rather than being foolish embellishments, were enhancing the functional shapes and spaces dictated by architecture and taking the chill out of the modern. With modern pattern design ornament came back with a vengeance.

(Hover over the images for a description)

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