“The history of architecture is the history of the struggle for light”, wrote Le Corbusier. The ringmaster of modern urbanity thereby put words on what modernism was all about: to remove the dark curtains of the 19th century bourgeoisie, as well as the murky soil of the poor peasants – in order to bring in the shining new light of machines, mass production, democracy and progress.


The future had arrived. Let there be light! Let us see things for what they really are!


Or, as put by Adolf Loos: “If I want to eat a piece of gingerbread I will choose one that is completely plain and not a piece which represents a baby in the arms of an equestrian.”


But the future turned out to be a moveable feast. Modernism was, as every other movement, a movement in transformation. The peak of the gingerbread was to come in the late 1960’s. They gave it
a telling name: brutalism.


The quest for an even brighter light led architects to take a logical but yet revolutionary step, to go beyond the plain cookie, and
also display the ingredients – the flour, the ginger, the sugar – as well as how that together makes a cookie. The white walls were uncovered and displayed without finishing touch, laying bare the cement, the nails, the beams, the brick and mortar. It was a full circle. The struggle for light, the struggle to display the structures, rediscovered the shadows.

Brutalism opened for a redefinition of light. As the global, social, technical and financial systems become more complex things
do turn to get both transparent and blurred. They say we now live in the era after the modern, in the era of convergence – where things once apart melt together and fertilize each other. We no longer go to the factory to work. We no longer look upon our homes as machines to live in. No, in the convergence era the future of work is life and the future of life is work. We play when we are serious and we try to save the world understanding the light will never be light enough. 


Big data has made it possible to track every step we take. But it also, in an unprecedented way, brings history and future to merge. As British chef Fergus Henderson claimed already in the 1990’s: it is time to rediscover and reinterpret the whole beast, from nose to tail, not to just eat the fillet, as they did in the modern days, and turn the rest into industrial sausage. We know now, that the light is in fact more precise in the shadows of the candle light.

Jan Åman
Co-founder and creative director, A house 

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A house is a carefully curated machine for creatives in the convergence era. It’s a members house created to connect: larger offices to solopreneurs, the established to the coming, food and fashion to art and media, academic research to societal needs. A house is a house in constant transformation. In cooperation with Akademiska Hus AB.