Friday, August 12, 2005

Ornament and Crime

At least this example of Austrian Jugenstihl is being saved… This was one of the first examples of the white minimalist box which would decades later be called the “International Style”. Although its exterior looks quite plain and monotonous, Adolf Loos had a refined skill in using lavish materials for his colorful interiors. It’s ironic that this architect is most famous for declaring that using ornamentation was criminal. I’m skeptical of taking such simple descriptions for granted, since there was articulate case to be made against excessive ornamentation. What Loos was really doing was using the essence of materials as the ornament rather than some arbitrary form. A truly misunderstood architect, but it's hard not to blame someone who equates something most people like (ornament) as a serious violation.

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