Monday, February 7, 2011

Loos or Secession?

I am definitely on the Loos side. Well, don’t think of me as a plain, unfashionable or ‘anti-ornaments/deco’ sort of person, trust me I am not, but I always believed that function comes first before everything else. And practicality does count. As an interior design student (previously), I must say that Loos has his own ways of interpreting design into living space that really caught my attention whereby he mentioned, “The work of art is brought into the world without there being a need for it. The house satisfies a requirement. The work of art is responsible to none; the house is responsible to everyone. The work of art wants to draw people out of their state of comfort.” He believed that what more important is the direct truthfullness in exerting design and outcomes as well as the idea of putting comfortability and necessity as priority more than anything else. The living space has to be able to please everyone and be habitable. Well, somehow it is true, isn’t it? I couldn’t agree more.

Adolf Loos (1870-1933) is an Austrian architect and author of the article Ornament and Crime (1908), in which this anti-secession rejected the ornamentation and curved lines in Viennese jugendstil movement. In my own words, Loos stressed the idea of conveying idealistic in the most minimalistic way and this attitude of disregarding and removal of ornamentation is somehow a movement of civility.

The Müller House
“The house does not have to tell anything to the exterior; instead, all its richness must be manifest in the interior.” Adolf Loos.
The Müller House
In the Müller House that he designed, I could say that he designed it not only considering the materials but also refers to the experience of the interior. Comfort is produced by two seemingly opposing conditions, intimacy and control. In this assertation intimacy is structural, control is visual, and the effect of both is comfort. There is a direct connection between the design of the interior, the flows, the materials and the function of the space. The richness is still there, although it may seem lack of luxurious element and details. I can conclude that, for Loos, the representation of the interior was the world without the mask.

Pn.Suzy asked us to relate our practice field with the either two ideologies which is from Loos or Secessionist. I’d go for the Loos. Why waste so much things that are unnecesssary and not useful when you can contribute them to more important things such as comfortness, cost and labours minimization and perhaps for better living?
Interior design space
These are two randomly selected examples of current design of interior space for residential. I guess you can tell which one is referring the influence from the seccessionists’ ideology and which one is Loos’. The left image shows stairways fill with excessive sculptural elements and decorative features especially at the handrails and wall panels. The right image, in the other hand shows the composition of materials and surfaces plays their role and sort of showing that the beauty of the space lies in the materials and functions itself. And again, I am definitely on the Loos side.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

"Joy of Work"

On the 2nd week of Design History class, the lecture was about the Art Nouveau and Arts & Crafts movement (the early Modernism) that I was able to recall the lil less thought of it which I sort of have covered a few topics in History of Architecture during my diploma studies way back in god knows when...We were asked to associate the saying "Joy of Work" to both movements and choose one that would depict the phrase the best.

Before I dig up further, let me briefly describe these two movements just so you know the differences. Arts & Crafts advocated truth to materials and traditional craftsmanship using simple forms and often medieval, romantic or folk styles of decoration. Art Nouveau in the other hand is an approach to design according to which artists should work on everything, making art part of everyday life and marked by decoratives foliage and naturalistic motifs.

I would say the Arts & Crafts movement (founded by William Morris whom responsible of raising up British crafts standards) would best portrays the phrase whereby in my opinion, during this largely anti-industrial and antimachine movement, man at that time, with this radical outlook exalting the craftsman, were largely embracing the arty spirit and sought to produced fine arts for the masses.

Morris, wrote "A man at work, making something which he feels will exist because he is working at it and wills it, is exercising the energies of his mind and soul as well as of his body. Memory and imagination help him as he works" and this principle was applied during the Arts and Crafts period.

It tells us that, man during this period were so into exploring their ability that goes along with skills and creativity and determination at work (focusing on handcrafting) as they were able to design and produce their own work hence would adore the beauty lies within their own creations. It brings out the joy and contentment in one’s self that comes from the feeling of accomplishment. This was injected to their thought that makes them failed to grasp the aesthetic possibilities of the machines. To sum up my opinion, I would say that "Joy of Work" expression is seemly fit for Arts and Crafts movement compared to the Art Nouveau.

Wallpaper design by William Morris, Elysian Fields "paradise waits in these immortal fields of bliss."  intertwining flowers and winged creatures (WM typically used birds but here it is bats and carnivorous plants.)

Check out this site,  showing some of the exquisite collection of wallpaper design by William Morris.  Reference links for more of WM design is also provided. To Morris, these designs could not just be interpreted as 'pretty', or 'attractive', they were much more. They were indeed part of his life's work and passion. The range of design remain popular till today.

The past is not dead, it is living in us, and will be alive in the future which we are now helping to make.” - William Morris

Monday, January 10, 2011

"I think, therefore I am" - Rene Descartes

Thanks to Pn. Suzy, the one who inspired me to start this blog, or should I say the one who responsibles for this straight-forwardly-about-design-history blog of mine. Now, let us all learn the history of the so called design world~
How bout we start it with the phrase "I think, therefore I am" ?
peace :)

The famous “Cogito ergo sum” or “I think, therefore I Am” is a statement used by Rene Descartes made by conscious awareness that has became an essential element throughout the shaping of the western history back in the late 18th century. It implies some sort of basis for the act of having the obsessive curiosity to equip one’s self of knowledge and the imergance of the idea to wanting things for one’s self at the same time, disregarding the old religious and monarchical systems.  It was radically encouraging those who conduct his thoughts or imaginations in order to explore things and be able to believe in themself. 

This phenomenon marked the change from domestic industry to the rapid development of factory and manufacturing systems, which began in the textiles industry. This caused the employment of labours and the need to gain for more capitals. There was an absolute demand for better lifestyle, design and luxury, therefore designers took part in developing of mass production. The riches aim of becoming richer and the poor strive to adapt themselves in the so-called revolution. Indeed, from the urban thinkers of bourgeoisie or upper classes to the migrant workers from this era, it seemed to compose itself to have the inclination to pursue creativity, innovation and inspiration.

Turning Points in History
This video depicted the rapid development of factory systems and the consequences of it that affects the lifestyle, which causes mass migration of villagers to town, seperation of classes, enhancement of machineries and trasportation systems, growth of trades and capitals, exploitation of labours, air pollution and the increasing of urban slums.

Manet – Music at the Tuileries

Here Manet has depicted the atmosphere imparts a sense of what the Tuileries gardens were like at the time; one may imagine the music and conversation, showing his friends, artists, authors, and musicians who take part, and he has included a self-portrait among the subjects. Included in the image are Manet himself,  Charles Baudelaire, Theophile, Gautier, Henri Fatin Latour, Jacques Offenbach and Manet's brother Eugène.