Your Basket

  • There are no items in your basket.

Cart Total


Check Out

What are design movements?

May 14th, 2019

Category: WB Jamieson

Author: Darren Seymour

What are Design Movements?

Movements in design inform the style or prevailing inclination that follow a philosophy or ideal, which is followed and promoted by a group of artists or designers for a defined period of time.

Design movements and their corresponding dates

The Arts and Crafts Movement (1850 - 1915)

The Arts and Crafts movement was primarily a British and American aesthetic occurring in the final years of the 19th century and into the early 20th century. The Arts and Crafts movement influence a range of different outputs including, architecture, the decorative arts, cabinet making, crafts, and gardens designs. 

Best known practitioners of the movement include William Morris, Charles Robert Ashbee, T.J. Cobden Sanderson and Walter Crane.

Arts and Crafts was the antithesis of the machine made and factory-born products. Employing, rather, the skilled hands of artisans in their field of expertise.

Arts and Crafts  - William Morris design - WB Jamieson

The Art Nouveau Movement (1880 - 1910)

 Art Nouveau is french for 'New art' but found international recognition as a style of art, architecture and design that found its height of popularity at the beginning of the 20th century. The movement is characterised by the highly stylised, flowing and organic forms which usually incorporated floral motifs.

Not opposed to the the use of machinery and manufacture, the Art Nouveau movement took advantage of glass, wrought iron, etc within architecture.
Art Nouveau is considered a 'total style', which means that it encompassed all areas of design - from architecture, interior design; decorative arts, including jewellery, furniture, textiles, household silver and other utensils, and lighting; and the range of visual arts.

Art Nouveau - Lamp - WB Jamieson


Modernism (1880 - 1940)

Moving further into the 20th century, Designers and architects following this movement felt that new technology rendered the old styles of building obsolete.
Le Corbusier believed that buildings should function as "machines for living in" in the way that cars were machines for travelling in.
Modernism rejected the old styles and structures that were inherited from Ancient Greece and the Middle Ages. Modernist designers chose to move away from decorative motifs, and instead focus on materials, form and geometry.

Modernist chair - WB Jamieson

Art Deco (1910 - 1940)

This popular design movement affected the decorative arts such as architecture, Interior Design, and Industrial Design. As well as Visual Arts such as fashion, painting, the graphic arts and film.

In a sense, Art Deco was a fusion of any different styles of the early 20th century. Including styles such as Cubism, Constructivism, Modernism, Bauhaus Art Nouveau, and Futurism.

Art Deco's popularity peaked during the Roaring Twenties. Unlike many movements which were rooted in political or philosophical intentions, Art Deco was purely decorative, being seen as elegant, functional and ultra modern. The movement was embraced by Hollywood.

Art Deco - Chrysler Building NYC - WB Jamieson

Futurism (1910 - 1945)

Futurism was the first movement in the history of Art and Design to be engineered and managed much like a business. Embracing technological progress and celebrating the possibilities of the modern age. 
Futurism was very forward thinking, and as the name implies, was concerned with looking towards the future.

Embraced by all aspects of Art and Design, Futurism to much inspiration from Italian culture. From painting, to architecture and gastronomy. 

War was often glorified in works of art in the futurism style.

Futurist painting - WB Jamieson

Bauhaus (1920 - 1934)

Bauhaus is the common name for Staatliches Bauhaus, an art and architecture school in Germany that operated from 1919 until 1933. The most literal translation for the word is Architecture house.

The Bauhaus style became one of the most influential movements of modernism, with a profound influence upon subsequent developments in art, architecture , graphic design, interior design, industrial design and typography. 

Bauhaus design - WB Jamieson


Surrealism (1925 - 1930)

Surrealism was a cultural movement that took place in the mid-1920's which is best known for the visual artworks and writings of it's members. The surrealists aimed to revolutionise the human experience by freeing people from what they saw as false logic, and restrictive customs and structures.

Within design, Surrealism was supported by the belief that objects did not conform to normality. With each design holding a surprise that aimed to intrigue and excite the user. With surrealism, you should expect the unexpected.

Surrealism furniture - WB Jamieson

Streamlining (1930 - 1950)

Known also as Streamline Moderne, Streamlining was a branch that grow from the Art Deco movement.

The style paid particular attention to, and focused on curving forms, long sweeping lines and nautical elements. The Streamline style found its way onto appliances such as electric clocks, sewing machines, small radio receivers and vacuum cleaners. Developments in materials such as Bakelite and aluminium were employed within designs.

Streamline Moderne Movement - WB Jamieson


Organic Design (1930 - 1960 & 1990 - Present)

Organic Design is the philosophy of architecture which promotes harmony between the coexistence of human habitation and the natural world. The philosophy approaches design in a way that is sympathetic to its surroundings, being influenced, even in an abstract way, by nature.

The term "Organic Architecture" was first coined by architect Frank Lloyd Wright (1868-1959).

Organic Design Movement - WB Jamieson

Scandinavian Modern (1935 - Present)

Scandinavian Design emerged in the 50's from the Scandinavian countries: Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland. The movement is characterised by simple and uncomplicated forms, with minimalism, stylisation, functionality and low cost mass production. Post WW2, it was felt that everyday objects should be affordale, functional and beautiful.
This extremely popular movement has remained prominent in the world of design to this day.

Scandinavian Modern - Artek Tea Trolley - WB Jamieson

Pop Art (1958 - 1972)

Pop art is one of the major art movements of the twentieth century. Characterised by themes and techniques drawn from popular mass culture. Predominately, a movement of the art world, Pop art soon became an influence in furniture, graphic design and products of the time. 

Pop Art Movement - WB Jamieson


Minimalism (1967 - 1978)

Minimalism describes work which is stripped down to its most fundamental features. It is a movement that has been highly by Japanese traditional design and architecture. Ludwig Mies ver der Rohe adopted the "Less is more" motto. His work emphasised the building's frame, removing interior walls in favour of an open plan layout. Developed in Ney York, Minimalism utilises geometric forms and extreme simplicity. 
The Minimal style could be seen as calming while others may find the style stark and unwelcoming.

Minimalism - Menu Lighting - WB Jamieson

Postmodernism (1978 - Present)

Postmodernism developed as a reaction to the blandness and hostility that the modernist movement brought with it. A return to decoration and the addition of 'interest' to products and buildings, The post modernist style could be very abstract and stylised however it remains functional. The Postmodernism style really took hold in the 1980's.

Post Modernism Bookcase - Ettore Sottsass


< Back to All News