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The Design Style of 1950’s and 1960’s

Free «The Design Style of 1950's and 1960's» Essay Sample


The purpose of this report is to inform the reader of the design style that will be used to change Macs Brew Bar from a bar to a restaurant. The new venture, replacing Macs brew Bar will be called Seri Melayu Restaurant. This operation features Malay Traditional and Modern Concepts. In order to understand this design style, the current report will compare the 1960’s design style to that of the 1950’s. Within this comparison, the readers’ attention will be drawn to the history, similarities and differences inherent to each design style.

1960’s Style

Design style of the interior in 1960’s is also called psychedelic. It was affected by both a pop art and op art cultures that have their specific features. Psychedelia used vibrant and flashy colors, such as purple or bright scarlet, as well as various decorations and rags that remind of hilarious hippy travels, particularly Moroccan and Indian ones. Therefore, “ethnic” ornaments and the metallic disco look of appliances became very popular in 60’s. The society at those times highly valued the notions of “peace” and “love” and, moreover, created graphic characters with the words above mentioned. 60’s were the period during which people tried to express their identities in everything, including interior environment. Colors were taken from nature. The most popular palette was refilled in 60’s with more flamboyant shades of traditional in 50’s colors. The blend of tangerine orange and fuchsia pink, as well as black and white was a boom in 1960’s. The major aim of such an extraordinary combination of hues was to strike imagination. Previous statement also concerns the coloring fabrics. The textiles were ornamented with large-scale flowers, Persian pickles, tie-dye and ethnic patterns. The manufacturers used Indian saris for production of drapes, bedcovers, and tapestries. It is no wonder that all the furniture was made either of wood or metal, glass or PVC in 60’s. Some items were made of the combination of those materials. Many furniture pieces were designed as disposable ones. TV was the center of the house, where all the family members gathered. Exuberant shag rags were used to floor the rooms. In the pop art or psychedelic kitchens and living rooms, a visitor could notice such accessories like Siamese cats, early blue violets, chamomiles, and owls. Neon colors made the things look very fashionable. There are major characteristics in the décor of this epoch, like:

  1. Cheerful, bright style;
  2. Rebirth of the old traditions;
  3. Preference to low level decoration;
  4. Application of non-reusable things;
  5. Furniture was multifunctional, i.e. served for different purposes.
  6. The pieces of furniture are usually made of plastic and PVC.
  7. Specific decoration;
  8. Barely visible border between imagination and reality;
  9. Historically defined furniture in the form of capsules and pods;
  10. The prevalence of functioning of non-conformance and an active self-expression in the behaviors of individuals living in 60’s.

1950’ Style

1950’s can be called a luxuriant period. Post-war spirit changed to generally optimistic in 50’s, notwithstanding the fact of impending threat of Cold War. Therefore, cheerful people prefer flashy coloring and bright patterns inspired by science, technologies, and cosmic research. Designs of chambers and movables were innovatory at those times, however, predominantly influenced by classicistic and postmodern trends. According to Breedlove (2013), “designs imagined and developed through the ‘60s have outlasted the idiosyncrasies of postmodernism and its demise”. Expert on 50’s will distinguish several major trends in decoration, such as pastel colors, a Scandinavian and modern color schemes. Therefore, the prevailing colors in rooms’ decorations and furniture were pastel, such as turquoise, electric tints of blue, pink, mint green, etc. It should be said that the 50’s retro style demanded application of traditional Scandinavian shades and an outstanding contrast of tints concerning modern color scheme. The most fashionable ornaments in 50’s were polka dots, checks, and “boomerang” patterns. Such elements of décor as “the browns, wood paneling, and faux leather furniture recall the 1950s” (Liston & Veneman, 2013). Linoleum as a best flooring in the previous decades was redesigned by Armstrong and others in more dynamic colors and textures. Among the trendiest motives was the combination of linoleum tiles of contrasting colors that formed some plaid floor. Floors were also covered with hardwood. Wall-to-wall carpeting gained its popularity in 50’s. Lamps were of abstract and geometric shapes, as well as sculptural animal-like ones. Their tops were made of fiberglass butter-paper or fabric curtains of abstract patterns. There were double-ovens, washers, and dryers instilled in the houses. Mixers, coffeemakers, and blenders were produced in 50’s. Their purpose was to simplify the process of housing, and offer more time for leisure. Almost every family could buy a TV set and a loom board. Furniture at those times varied from upholstery to Scandinavian-like furniture with rounded appearance and light-colored timber, to items made according to space tradition.

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Distinctive features:

  1. Open layout;
  2. Built-in kitchens;
  3. Fundamental colors;
  4. Piling furniture;
  5. Application of innovatory at those times materials, such as PVC, high-heat-resistant-plastic, cyanotriamide, gum, glass fiber, aluminum, vinyl and plastics;
  6. Abstract ornaments and geometric decorations;
  7. Animal and floral patterns;
  8. Kitchen with new digital appliances, such as toasters or blenders etc.;
  9. The preference to china, rather than crockery;
  10. Immense refrigerators.

The History of 1960’s

1960’s is the era marked with an active consuming of LSD and other hallucinogens by the youth. Yet, psychedelics “with typical designs featuring abstract swirls of intense color with curvilinear calligraphy reminiscent of Art Noveaux” pertains to one of the most outstanding art styles in décor (“Psychedelic 60’s”, n.d.). The psychedelics of the sixties covered everything, starting from literature and finishing with music: even the UFO (an old-famous night club where Pink Floyd used to play was contaminated with all that buoyancy of psychedelia. Entering it a person can see “a frayed beer-stained carpet tacked crudely” with “a standard Gaelic pub décor, shamrocks and suchlike, on the walls” (Chapman, 2012). 1945 was a postwar period of an economic prospering, as well as of increasing birth rates. In 1960s, those babies became young adults that questioned the world with the issues of equality, discrimination, the Vietnamese War, nuclear expansion, freedom and etc. Feminism and the movement for the liberation of Black people arouse as a result of 1960’s revolution. Moreover, Americans of this and the next decades “sought spiritual experiences through Eastern mysticism to psychedelic drugs” (“Psychedelic 60’s”, n.d.). Band posters decorating the edifices with the pictures of musicians Janice Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and The Who have made contributions to the development of modern art forms. The youth tend to enjoy the music festivals at those times. In February, 1963 “The Beatles arrived in New York, and upon landing restored a sense of joy, giddy rapture, and fanaticism” (Parr, 2012).

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The History of 1950’s

The economy in the USA was prospering in 1950’s. Military powers were very strong. During the rapid development of economy, convertibles of new type and suburban houses, etc. were invented in America. However, 50’s is also a period of serious political conflicts, such as Cold War and the Civil Right Movement. At that period, it was easier for the soldiers to purchase ground on the skirts of the towns and construct cheaper standard houses. Housing loans were given to soldiers for purchasing those houses, rather than hiring expensive flats in the center of the city. As a result, edifices of a new style were designed for the recently married young couples, as they had special family rooms, open space plans, and a yard in the back of the house. Such suburban houses got such nicknames as “The Rabbit Hutch”, etc. However, these houses did not meet the expectations of women in society who had been forcibly domesticated. Later, a dissatisfaction of women resulted in the feministic movement of 60’s.

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Similarities and differences in 1950s and 1960s design are so much different and alike.

First of all, different historical events shaped each period. Therefore, inspired by the overall freedom of love, sex, narcotics, music rock concerts, and bright colors, the youth of sixties was mad and creative. Unlike 60-ies, 50-ies was a post-war period during which people tried to come to their senses, rebuild the destroyed by soldiers houses which appeared much smaller than before the war. However, the large-scale objects like fridges, toasters, or blenders piled in open plan kitchens that once again remind of the dire consequences of the battles. The scales of the kitchen appliances were traditional in 60’s; the large scales were only pertinent to repeat patterns on textile. Cosmic discoveries and inventions of psychedelic epoch gave rise to the futuristic design ornaments and space forms influenced by art nouveau, while 50’s followed surrealistic traditions of Salvador Dali and modernism. 50’s got no fireplaces and chair rails. Apart from bright colors beloved in 60’s, the society of 50’s also vividly used chrome and vinyl colors, while producing the furniture and utensils. Abstract ornaments inspired by the progress in sciences such as molecules or starbursts, as well as polka dots, stripes, floral and animal patterns appeared on the textiles in 1950’s. 1960’s were inspired by pop art artists and designers, such as Christian Dior; as a result, their furniture was upholstered with Moroccan and art nouveau style fabrics. At both decades, people ordered some pieces of furniture from mixed shops, however, in 50’s it were few cabinets to supply the kitchen, while in 60’s, junk shops provided the customers with bamboo or wicker things of bright colors. Kitsch, China dishes, small-size accessories, poly tanks, and creative ash plates and other items were characteristic trends of 1950s. 1960’s featured flat pack furniture, mocking accessories, murals and wallpapers painted in the best traditions of psychedelia, and lava lamps.

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Open plan homes were the common in both fifties and sixties. 50’s and 60’s has got used of junk shop’s furniture. The attraction by bright and primary shades was a common distinctive trait of the art styles of 50’s and 60’s.

The designing styles of 1950’s and 1960’s have both differences and similarities. Each period has a set of features, pertaining only to the epoch that it represents. Peculiar historical events affected the comprehension of both generations of the decades, as well as influenced the development of styles in decor. Marked by overcoming economic rise and hippies that got accustomed to leading free lifestyles, hilarious sixties followed the post-war fifties. Seri Melayu Restaurant will be a fascinating place to attend by people who appreciate art and culture because the design of the property will wonderfully hark back to those good old fifties-sixties.

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