From Mid-Century Modern to Modernist Marvels: Unveiling Aesthetic Innovations in Architecture and Graphic Design

In the world of design, the mid-20th century was a period of remarkable innovation and transformation. As the globe was reshaped by post-war social and cultural shifts, two figures emerged as pioneers of modern design: one in the realm of architecture and another in graphic design. On one hand, a modernist English home, built in 1935 in Somerset, showcases an early example of modernist residential architecture, bursting with the creative influence of its former owner, the renowned composer Sir Arthur Bliss. On the other, the mid-century designer Herbert Bayer, an Austrian artist trained at the Bauhaus, revolutionized the way we perceive geographical information through his work on the ‘World Geo-Graphic Atlas’. This collection of stories dives deep into the history of these two modernist marvels, revealing the unique design principles and cultural significance behind their creation.


  1. An Early Gem of Modernist Residential Architecture in Somerset A shining example of early modernist residential architecture, a house constructed in 1935 in Somerset, England, is now on the market. Initially built as a summer work retreat for the renowned English composer Sir Arthur Bliss, this house is a testament to modernist design with its clean horizontal lines and walls of windows. This property, tucked away in the village of Penselwood, has played host to some of the most creative individuals of the 20th century, including artists Edward Wadsworth and Paul Nash, ballet dancers Dame Ninette de Valois and Robert Helpmann, and composers Gerald Finzi and Howard Ferguson. The house has been owned by only three individuals in its 68-year history. It is located on a 25-acre plot and offers 2,640 square feet of living space. You can find more information on this unique property at Mansion Global​.

  2. Herbert Bayer’s Contributions to Information Design and Visual Education
    RIT Press has recently published a new book titled ‘Herbert Bayer’s World Geo-Graphic Atlas and Information Design at Mid-Century’ by Benjamin Benus. The book explores the creation and design of the ‘World Geo-Graphic Atlas’ between 1947 and 1953, a work that significantly influenced the fields of information design and visual education. Bayer, an Austrian-born artist trained at the Bauhaus, used his modernist design principles to produce an atlas that transformed the look and character of geographic atlases and popular scientific illustration. His innovative use of original graphics and full-page topographical maps made the scientific information accessible and engaging. Find out more about this influential designer and his groundbreaking work on RIT’s website​.
    World Geo Atlas

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