“This year , as a homage to the V&A’s Postmodernism: Style and Subversion 1970-90 the London Design Festival has commissioned architect Antonino Cardillo to create a spectacular Postmodern Cafe at the Exhibition Road entrance, open throughout the Festival. The London Design Festival’s dedicated entrance to the Museum plays host to the Postmodern Cafe, in homage to the masters of the movement; the cafe is a playful rendition of a colourful environment, for repose and refreshment. Contemporary interpretations of Postmodern design co-exist with past realities, including elements designed for firms with roots in Postmodernism active today.” — London Design Festival
Mies + Venturi. Modern in plan and “post” in elevation, Postmodern Cafe is a divertissement, a quest between Mies Van Der Rohe and Robert Venturi.
Archetypes. Like huge frescoes, the façades recall the Pre-Modern bond between Painting and Architecture. Vinyl graffiti refigure archetypal themes of Tympanum and Arc: the first – seen from Exhibition Road – features two contrapositive triangles in a Suprematistic broken tympanum. The second – diagonally perceived from the gate of the V&A – paints a stretched arc framing a shard of the neoclassical wall behind, counterpointing two existing enlarged columns.
Urban baroque strategy. Two ephemeral façades fluctuate across the V&A’s 1970s Exhibition Road hall, capturing glances as in a baroque strategy.
Symmetry and negation. Although symmetrical, they are perceived from diagonal points of view. The front view seems to be denied by the pathway.
Inflection. On the walls, figures converge toward the centre. Though symmetrical overall, each side is unequal.
Stripes. Crossing the space, there are stripes everywhere, evoking ephemeral structure on a shoreline, seas and overseas, and retroactive presages close to Giò Ponti and Postmodernism: Art is fluid. Although categorized, it escapes boundaries.
State: the project was not built due to a disagreement between sponsor and designer
Time: August 2011
Place: Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Rd, Knightsbridge, London SW7 2RL, UK
Area: 250 square metres
Cost estimate: 24,000 pounds
Architect: Antonino Cardillo
Client: London Design Festival
Curator: Suzanne Trocmé
Postmodern Cafe © Antonino Cardillo