The Modernist is a quarterly journal dedicated to 20th century modernist architecture and design. Published in Manchester - one of the cultural capitals of the North of England - and featuring an esteemed roster of writers and contributors from across the United Kingdom, the journal has been described by James Pallister of the Architects' Journal as, in spite of its subject matter, "free from the strait-laced rigour of classic graphic design modernism." Twelve issues later and the liberal, playfully academic tone of this digestible journal has been maintained in this latest incarnation, Departed.
Marking the final issue of of Volume 3, Departed loosely pays homage to those Modernist icons, ideas, objects and people that are no longer with us or play host to the wider theme. As in previous editions, it takes the reader on a tour of 20th century modernism, this time from Zlín, the Czech Republic, to Barnsley, UK - an overlooked British town which was, until recently, the home of Lyon Israel Ellis' technical college. Matthew Steele's associated article critically narrates the fascinating story of this departed micro-icon.
Aidan Turner-Bishop's investigation into "Electric Chic at the Station" - an exploration of the 'flap displays' once so common in large rail terminals and still in operation in Paris' Gare du Nord - brings to light the fascinating history of this once ubiquitous analogue interface. Dominic Kearney's article exploring the story of Liam McCormick's Church of St. Aengus, coupled with Joe Austin's study into post-war crematoria design, take a more literal approach to the journal's theme. In spite of the subject matter they are equally as uplifting as Logan Sisley's fascinating story about the Bennie Railplane: a train, powered by propeller which, if realised, would have quite literally flown across the English countryside.
Whereas many print journals are looking to divide their content into ever smaller bite-size chunks, unfortunately divorcing depth from content in the process, The Modernist has found a balance: essays are condensed but critically rigourous, encouraging you to pause and find the pleasure in the carefully edited words and photographs. If you value quality writing and clean design, you can invest in a copy of this issue here.