I have always tried to slice and dice a piece of furniture or decorative arts by associating a style and sub-style with the item. I find it’s a way to understand where the design was coming from and what influences made it adaptable. Chinese Chippendale seems as incongruous a combination of designs as faux-bamboo. Today’s designs have evolved from somewhere, and I like the term Millennium Modern as identifying late 20th Century to the present.
The interior designer Geoffrey Bradfield coined the term. I believe he was trying to put a name on a style that just was classified as “contemporary”, but lacked a style period name. Art Nouveau isn’t quite Victorian, but guess what period preceded it? Art Deco became Midcentury-Modern; Millennium Modern takes us to the present. Millennium Modern takes Neo-classical and free form designs, and injects form and materials. It is a period born in the 1960s and still evolving with today’s designers’ creativity unleashed by this style’s open boundaries.
What brought me to this blog topic was a situation where I was about to receive an outstanding consignment of “this stuff”. I have every inventory item clearly broken down by a style and sub-style, class and sub-class. What to do with this merchandise, when my only option in my database would be: Art Moderne/1940s. It doesn’t sound right for these items and it really is individually a highly developed form of design. The term Millennium also clearly delineates an applicable time frame too. I always believed the year 2000 would separate us into the 21st Century, with unimaginable decorative arts design and technology. We have late 17th Century, Baroque; late 18th Century, Georgian; late 19th Century, Art Nouveau; late 20th Century, Millennium Modern?
When you go to my web site, I am now using the style classification “Post-War Design” for items I believe are original designs from the 1960s to the present. It encompasses American, European, and Asian designers. I have always defined period styles as a time era of an original design form. Presently there is no one encompassing term like Art Deco, Georgian, or Victorian that is a commonly used term for this style period. Millennium Modern sound good and so does Post-War Design, but if anyone can come up with a better title for this period, I would love to hear it.