The Subsects of Modernist Architecture Part II

A few weeks ago on our blog, we began exploring the subsects of Modernist architecture and covered the Bauhaus, De Stijl and Constructivism movements. Modernism took the world by storm at the time of its invention — reimagining everything from painting to furniture to the built environment. Over time, that impact has continued to evolve and morph into many different directions. Here’s just a few of those iterations:


Expressionism is the fourth subsect of Modernism to emerge in the discipline’s early years. This architectural style existed simultaneously with the Bauhaus style, but stood in stark contrast to its counterpart. While Bauhaus architecture emphasized clean, linear design, Expressionism was an outburst of artistic emotion, encouraging fragmentation and distortion to express extreme feelings. These feelings were borne from the political turmoil at the time, when the German Revolution of 1919 led many to a utopian outlook and a romantic socialist agenda. 


As the name suggests, functionalism emphasizes one of the core traits of modernism: “form follows function.” The style, which emerged in Europe in the 1930s, touted that the design of a building should reflect its function and purpose. In the wake of World War I, this philosophy played its part in the larger desire to create a new and better world for people. This socialist and humanist philosophy was evident in many of the designs from this subsect of Modernism. 


Minimalism is another subsect of Modernist architecture that emerged mid-century. Inspired by its predecessors, the De Stijl and Bauhaus movements, Minimalism is perhaps one of the most recognizable Modernist styles. Distinguished by its straight-forward design, stripped of ornamentation and decoration, Minimalism drove design back to its bare essentials. The movement was inspired by the hustle and bustle of urban life as well as influenced by Japanese architecture. Figures such as Ludwig Mies van der Rohe popularized the design; it continued to evolve throughout the decades and can be seen in contemporary Modernist architecture today.

Stay tuned for more features on the many subsects of Modernist architecture.

A Brief History of The Egg Chair

Of the many interior design pieces within our buildings, the egg chair is arguably the most distinct. Its round shape, curved edges and cocoon-like nature are as inviting as they are fascinating. A staple accent in many Optima projects, the Egg chair has its own colorful past that has led it to its present-day prominence throughout the world of interior design. 

A Scandinavian Start

In the mid-1950s, the Scandinavian Airlines System enlisted Arne Jacobsen to design downtown Copenhagen’s Royal Hotel. Jacobsen, a Danish architect and designer, is one of the best-known designers of the 20th century and one of the pioneers of Danish modern design. He was a crucial contributor to architectural Functionalism and his keen sense of proportion is most well-known throughout his wide range of furniture designs. 

In designing the Egg chair, Jacobsen kept in mind both function and form with a chair that would allow travelers passing through the hotel to relax, swivel and recline. The high, curving sides allowed for a bit of privacy, a much-needed amenity after a long journey. The chair was lightweight at only 17 pounds, allowing the hotel staff to move and rearrange them as necessary. Even 60 years after its first debut, the Egg chair is still an iconic piece of design history, beloved by both residential and commercial spaces. 

The Egg chair has a colorful past that has led it to its present-day prominence throughout the world of interior design.
Optima Old Orchard Woods | Skokie, IL

The Eggs at Optima

Throughout our residential spaces, Egg chairs serve as a complementary accent piece to our Modernist buildings, reflecting the same passion for form and function. The curvaceous seat is adaptable, pairing well with everything from white walls to colorful surroundings. As they did when they were first designed, egg chairs serve a variety of functional purposes: a fresh pop of color, a nod to the Modernist style, a place to relax at the end of the day or a cosy reading spot to enjoy your favorite book. However they’re utilized, these design icons are a Modernist staple and one of our favorite pieces of unique furniture.

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