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7 Neo-Modernism: Architecture in the Age of Aesthetic Capitalism

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on one specific domain within contemporary capitalist culture: namely, architecture and design. It evaluates the emergence of Neo-Modernism and outlines what it tells us about the role of styling and image-making in an economy where branding and the 'economy of attention' have become central principles of marketing and corporate success. The story of Neo-Modernism is a story of perceived 'endings' and new 'beginnings'. Britain during the 1990s seemed to encapsulate many of the motifs of architectural and designer Neo-Modernism and, at the cost of oversimplification, it might be said that Neo-Modernism provides something of an aesthetic and cultural bridge between the Thatcher and Blair years. The rise of Neo-Modernism is associated with the full-blown consolidation of the architect as celebrity-cum-brand and also with the globalisation of architecture's physical and imaginary presence.

Keywords: aesthetic capitalism; age; architecture; economy; Neo-Modernism



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