What & Where: Atomium

What: The Atomium Where: Square de l’Atomium, B-1020 Brussels, Belgium In northern Brussels a structure named ‘Europe’s most bizarre building’ is a permanent reminder of the Cold War’s utopian vision of the future. The Atomium was constructed for Expo 58, the Brussels World’s Fair of 1958, and was originally intended only to survive the months of the Fair. But such was the popularity of this … Continue reading What & Where: Atomium

Recommended: Goldfinger’s House

In the affluent London neighbourhood of Hampstead, a trip to a historic building brings to light the story behind a famous fictional Cold War baddie. 2 Willow Road was the family home of the Hungarian-born architect, Ernö Goldfinger. But the modernist design of his 1939 building proved unpopular with other Hampstead residents, including author Ian Fleming. The creator of James Bond objected to the demolition … Continue reading Recommended: Goldfinger’s House

Featured Artist: Leonhard Lapin

Once a dissident rejected by the state, Leonhard Lapin is now considered one of the most important modern artists in his native Estonia. Born 1947 in what was the Estonian SSR, Lapin trained as an architect but soon began to also create paintings, sculpture and graphics. In the 1960s and ’70s his political views deeply affected both his pioneering work as an architect of the ‘Tallinn … Continue reading Featured Artist: Leonhard Lapin

Spot the Spomenik

Across the seven countries that once made up the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the landscape is occasionally punctuated by a strange, futuristic statue. This is a ‘spomenik’, a term which translates in the languages of the Balkan Peninsula as ‘monument’. In the 1960s and ’70s, during the reign of Yugoslavia’s ‘benevolent dictator’ Tito, groups of sculptors and architects worked together to construct these formidable objects. They were created both … Continue reading Spot the Spomenik

Recommended Read: Cold War Modern: Design 1945–1970

David Crowley and Jane Pavitt (eds.). Cold War Modern: Design 1945–1970. London: V&A Publishing, 2008. The V&A’s outstanding exhibition Cold War Modern: Design 1945–1970 may be a thing of the past, but the exhibition catalogue lives on! In this glossy tome, design historians David Crowley and Jane Pavitt chronicle the effect of the Cold War on culture, from architecture and film to cars and kitchens. It’s a … Continue reading Recommended Read: Cold War Modern: Design 1945–1970