Postmodern Cafe

, [project], Victoria & Albert Museum, London


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

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


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

LDF Guide

London Design Festival 2011, Contents

‘Contents’, The London Design Festival 2011 Guide, London, 2011, pp. 8‑9.


To complement the V&A’s keynote exhibition Postmodernism: Style and Subversion 1970‑90, the London Design Festival invites you to a Postmodern Cafe at the V&A’s Exhibition Road entrance. Designed by Italian architect Antonino Cardillo, the cafe references many of the style’s Italian design roots, and includes items by Alessi, one of the movement’s early champions. V&A visitors and Festival guests are invited to meet, eat, lounge and revel.

The London Design Festival 2011 Guide, London, 2011, p. 43.


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


Antonino Cardillo, ‘Taking a position’, build Das Architekten-Magazin, no. 5/11, ed. Ralf Ferdinand Broekman and Olaf Winkler, Wuppertal, Oct. 2011, pp. 44‑46.

Anonymous, ‘Postmodern Cafe’, in The London Design Festival 2011 Guide, London, Sept. 2011, pp. 8‑9, 43, 183.

Anonymous, ‘About the London Design Festival 2011’,, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, accessed 26 Aug. 2011.

Anonymous, ‘Postmodern Cafe: London Design Festival at the V&A’,, London, accessed 26 Aug. 2011.