Design: Whatever Became of the Future?

At Aspen, a search for an alternative to the modernist vision

In 1951, when many of the world's leading designers and architects gathered in the Colorado Rockies for the First International Design Conference at Aspen, they exuded confident pride in a functional, streamlined vision of the future. At the 33rd Aspen Conference last week, the theme was "The Future Isn't What It Used to Be."

It sure isn't. While abstraction still survives in art, the vision of the city as an abstract work of art and of houses as "machines to live in" is widely ridiculed and rejected today. Shivers went...

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