The Modernist issue 34
Delivered to Stack subscribers in  Apr 2020

by Heval Okcuoglu in May 2020
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The Modernist offers unique perspectives on 20th-century architecture and design, with this issue dedicated to exploring the juxtapositions found in the modern rural environment. With its pages full of bus stops, B-roads and concrete, it challenges the traditional definition of what constitutes the countryside — you won’t find any swaying fields of wheat here. But don’t be fooled by all the municipal mundanity; warm and endearingly nerdy, this is an unconventional but nonetheless idyllic picture of rural Britain. In these strange times, there is solace to be found in the quiet fanaticism of this magazine.


Jack Hale and Eddy Rhead.

Job title

What is The Modernist?
The Modernist is a quarterly print magazine celebrating the architecture and design of the modernist era.

What makes it different to the rest?
We didn’t start off as a magazine, the magazine is an offshoot of the not for profit Modernist Society. We try to focus on the lesser known and under valued designs and places of the modernist period. The article on litter bins in our latest issue is a perfect example of this. We’d rather feature concrete bus shelters in the Hebrides than brutalist tower blocks in London.

Who makes The Modernist?
Founders Jack and Eddy oversee the whole project assisted by Ashiya Eastwood and Matt Retallick who do a lot of the hard work of coordinating the content as well as packing and posting the thing. Each issue is pulled together by an invited guest editor, responding to the quarterly theme of the magazine. Every year, the initial letter of the theme changes, this year’s letter is ‘J’ for Junction, Juxtaposition, Journey and Justice. The editor and all the contributors generously volunteer their time in order to support the ‘not for profit’ aims of the organisation. For the past two seasons our designers have been Dan James and Jacob Critchley (of Birthday Studio and Rueville Studio) working together especially for the modernist.

Who reads it?
That’s a good question, we really have no idea. We didn’t set out with any sort of marketing plan of who might actually read it. Initially we contacted all the early followers of the modernist society and said that we were thinking of making a magazine and would you like to buy it. Over the years we have reached a wider audience via twitter and instagram and through mag shops and zine fairs. All we know is that anyone who reads it must have some interest in the architecture and design culture of the modernist period, from spoons or bins to graphic design, aeroplanes, buildings or entire cities – we’ll cover anything that interests us. Most of our audience are in the UK but we have dedicated fans as far away as Australia and Korea.

Why do you work in magazines?
By accident! Eddy and I set up the modernist society out of our personal interest in modernist architecture. We wanted to share our enthusiasm in any way that we enjoyed – that could be by wandering around under a concrete flyover, showing films, or putting together exhibitions. The magazine is one of the many by-products of the society’s activities.

Aside from the print magazine, what else are you involved in?
The Modernist Society does many things, we run a small gallery and shop in central Manchester, we publish limited edition design and photography books, we curate exhibitions, we show films, do city tours and host talks.

What would you change about The Modernist if you could?
We don’t really have any dedicated team to produce the magazine, we make it all up as we go along. We rely heavily on the goodwill and volunteer effort of all our contributors and designers. So it would be great if we could actually pay people for their efforts.

Where do you see The Modernist in five years?
We’ve never had a plan.The magazine has always been organic, moving from editor to editor and occasionally changing designers and format, so who knows?

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