Design: Best of '88 A Compelling New Modernism

Avoiding ideology, the year's choices accommodate pizazz and gravitas

Last summer's well-hyped Museum of Modern Art exhibit devoted to the anxious, determinedly unlikable architecture called deconstructivist was the signal design event of 1988. Not, as its enthusiasts hoped, because it galvanized the profession and fascinated the public, but because it was so anticlimactic, a bust. We have seen architecture's future, and its name is not deconstructivism.

Which is not to say that successful design has turned bland and safe. The best new buildings and products are lively and provocative even as they avoid ideological purity. The compelling modernism of the moment is lush, dreamy and concerned with appropriateness, not big,...

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