Poll: Is contemporary style on the way out?

Contemporary styleAs shocking as it may seem to fans of young, hip, cool, midcentury contemporary design, this style will not be popular forever.

Stick around on the planet for a few decades, and you’ll understand all too well that today’s “modern” is tomorrow’s “hopelessly dated.”

Whenever I find homeowners denigrating Mexican tiles or avocado green appliances from the 1970s, I caution: Think about your karma. Thirty years from now, in a kitchen remodeled today, a young person may gaze upon the stainless steel appliances, glass tile backsplash and sleek cabinets and declare them “totally gross.”

I started thinking about the end of our contemporary era when I studied this photo from Architectural Digest. I’m using this luminescent white kitchen (which is in a New York penthouse) as inspiration for my own kitchen update.

Notice how the living room furniture and the railing on that staircase in the background are very contemporary. But look at the kitchen itself. The beadboard on the cabinet doors, the white-washed table and floor, and those metal, farm-style chairs look suspiciously country in flavor.

In another magazine, I read that poofy drapes are coming back into style. And another article asked if it’s not time to reconsider growing herbs.

This is all starting to sound like Mother Earth News to me. And if we are headed for a transition from contemporary to earthy, this kitchen says it all.

2 Comments on Poll: Is contemporary style on the way out?

  1. riley

    Don’t expect Modern style to be fading anytime soon. It is “green” architecture. The elements of the style may even become code in certain parts of the world.
    The architecture incorporates passive uses of energy:
    • large overhangs (to shade)
    • Lots of glazing (natural light)
    • masonry walls (radiant heat)
    And the style is minimal — down to the honest use of materials — for instance, no added waste from moulding and paint.
    This country needs to change ideas and practices. Less is more.

  2. Kelly M

    I believe the general public will want to “soften” the linearity of contemporary, as you’re showing above but I don’t think it’s on its way out yet. Heck, I was designing with a contemporary slab cabinet door in the early 1980s!
    Each generation rediscovers what they don’t have and labels it “new”. We’re combining elements of every decade. Look at subway tile. Shag carpeting. Who ever thought avocado (now labeled “spiced kiwi”) would ever make a comeback?
    I wouldn’t be surprised here to see wallpaper making a comeback and paired with a contemporary setting.