Functionalism By Parsons, Glenn
Functionalism, a central idea in modernist design, rejects ornamentation unrelated to an item’s function, resulting in design that emphasizes a utilitarian purpose. The style was summed up in architect Louis Sullivan’s (1856–1924) popular slogan ‘form [ever] follows function’. Unlike modernist innovations across the arts, functionalist design sought to simplify, rather than complicate, traditional forms. It drew inspiration from various sources: the beauty of animal forms perfectly adapted to perform specific biological functions, or the aesthetic merit of industrial machinery, which was celebrated by modernist figures such as Le Corbusier (Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, 1887–1965).