The political, cultural and artistic movement of Modernism in art, architecture, music, literature and applied arts emerged in the three decades preceding the First World War, making extraordinarily powerful changes to Western society that are still relevant today.
Modernist architects and designers strongly believed that the new technology rendered old Victorian styles obsolete. In rejecting the old decorative motifs, these modernist designers, including designers of modern rugs preferred to emphasize pure geometrical forms, along with the use of new and innovative materials in their modernist carpet design and production. The skyscraper became the archetypal symbol of the era and modernist carpet designs began to emphasize simplicity and clarity of form.
Vintage modernist rugs were created by illustrious designers of the period that include Ivan da Silva Bruhns in France, Edward McKnight Kauffer and Marion Dorn in England and Frank Lloyd Wright in America. It is important to note that modern rugs today are often seen to include the decorative Art Deco rugs or Viennese Art Nouveau rugs, but modernist rugs specifically rejected these decorative principles and emphasized simplicity and utility.