Postmodern Cafe


  EN    IT  

Victoria & Albert Museum

Between painting and architecture


Mies + Venturi. Modern in plan and ‘Post’ in elevation, Postmodern Cafe is a divertissement, a quest between Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Robert Venturi.

Urban baroque strategy. Two façades capture glances across the V&A’s 1970s Exhibition Road hall.

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 façades, figures converge toward the centre. Though symmetrical overall, each side is unequal.

Archetypes. Like huge frescoes, the façades recall the pre-modern bond between painting and architecture. Vinyl graffiti refigure themes of Tympanum and Arch: two contrapositive triangles in a Suprematistic broken tympanum and a stretched arc framing a shard of the Aston Webb screen behind.

Stripes. Crossing the space, there are stripes everywhere, evoking ephemeral structure on a shoreline and retroactive presages close to Gio Ponti and Postmodernism: Art is fluid. Although categorised, it escapes boundaries.

Antonino Cardillo, Postmodern Cafe, Victoria and Albert Museum, Exhibition Road, London, 2011. Graphic design: Antonino Cardillo

Antonino Cardillo, Postmodern Cafe, Victoria & Albert Museum, Exhibition Road, London, 2011. Graphic design: Antonino Cardillo

London Design Festival 2011


Aston Webb, Exhibition Road Screen, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1909. Photography: Antonino Cardillo, 2011

Aston Webb, Exhibition Road Screen, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 1909, demolished in 2014. Photography: Antonino Cardillo, 2011

Graphic design

The logo of the Postmodern Cafe, London, 2011. Graphic design: Antonino Cardillo

The logo of the Postmodern Cafe, London, 2011.
Graphic design: Antonino Cardillo


  • Time: July‑Sept. 2011
  • Venue: Victoria & Albert Museum, Exhibition Rd, South Kensington, London, UK
  • Area: 250 m²
  • Typology: reception/bar


  • Client: London Design Festival (via Suzanne Trocmé)
  • Director: Ben Evans
  • Deputy director: William Knight
  • Project manager: Ruth Dillon
  • Festival assistant: Siobhan Henderson and Enis Karavil
  • Consultant curator: Suzanne Trocmé
  • Head at the V&A: Victoria Broackes
  • Officier at the V&A: Sophie Reynolds
  • Architecture design: Antonino Cardillo
  • Graphic design: Antonino Cardillo
  • Text: Antonino Cardillo
  • English translation: Charles Searson


Back to Top