Amusingly enough, "why is everything so ugly" was a gripe in The Death and Life of Great American Cities and Silent Spring.
You know what I love about jewelry design and jewelry history? Perspective. Van Cleef & Arpels did a bloody seminar on the history of fairies in jewelry design yesterday, going back to the frickin' Minoans. You are now aware that whenever you see Art Nouveau jewelry in Green White and Violet it's suffragette ("Give Women the Vote").
I bring this up because the jewelers have perspective. They know trends shift every 30 years. Gold is out, platinum is in. Platinum is out, gold is in. In between there's a 2-3 year period where gold and silver go together but these periods are then immediately cast into the dustbin of history and hated forever as times of horrible design in which everything is wrong.
oh shit fam
$42k of you'll-never-get-to-wear-it-again-in-your-lifetime, vintage 2021.
I bring this up because the jewelers will point out that the ornamentation is always somewhere. Art Nouveau was the logical extension of the Arts and Crafts movement, which came about because the ugly rise of industrialization sucked all the art out of everything (fuck you now and forever, steampunk). but more than that, Art Nouveau in jewelry came about because at the time, personal ornamentation was white satin with platinum and pearls.
It's deeper than that, though, which the jewelers will tell you. The more flamboyant the people, the more spare the ornamentation around them. While people lived the roaring '20s, Art Deco sprung up all around them and Art Deco is nothing if not monochrome. While Jane Jacobs and all her friends were busy bitching about how much architecture sucks, kids were busy deciding they didn't want to go to Vietnam in as flamboyant a fashion as possible. It's no accident that Brutalism and Hippies coincide in space/time. The one compliments the other. Eventually, something sets off the culture and everything shifts.
That's a Lapponia, by the way. It's from the late '60s but the culture clearly wasn't ready for it in the late '60s. Naah... there was some silvergold to get through in the mid '70s first.
So look. Architecture is ugly AF right now because your kid's 3rd grade teacher has blue hair. Cars are monochromatic nothingboxes because we're talking about pronouns. The louder the culture, the quieter the culture's environment. Going back to the Romans - we see spare white marble not just because all the paint wore off but because Beau Brummell hadn't quite killed fashion yet and the Edwardians needed the monochrome.
The principle difference between Brutalism and neobrutalism is Brutalism didn't have LEED (you get bonus points for environmentalism) and neobrutalism doesn't have Nazis. There's a big part of modern architectural regulation and trend that requires outdated structures to sink into the sand without leaving a superfund site. It's curtain wall construction without the glass, because "glass" is '80s and fuck that we're innovating here.
You know what the color palette is today? It's '60s kitchen.
You know what people were making in '60s kitchens?
You know what people were wearing in '60s kitchens?
THIS TOO SHALL PASS. Except for the heirloom stuff. It's built to last.