on ornament

Herzog and de Meuron's National Stadium in Beijing.

I see architectural ornament in the 21st century as an integral part of the building fabric itself, where subjectivity is replaced by a necessity – the patterning on a bee’s wing is highly ornamental, but at the same time has evolved as a ruthlessly efficient and complex structure to enable flight.

Patrick Usborne in the current AArchitecture article "Everything you've ever wanted to know about ornament* *but were too afraid to ask!"

AArchitecture is ace. It also smells good. Made by Zak group the typography is swoonsome. And there are cute little satellite magazines in the centrefold:

(by the way, that image behind the satellite image there is an article called "Dr. Charles Jencks on sex")

And now I'll finish with a poster Zak made for a symposium on porn in culture.
The text is extracted from spam.


Blogger anil bawa said...

I disagree with Usborne's observation. Ornament is by definition an aesthetic detail with no functional purpose, since it is a "detail used to beautify the appearance of something" (dictionary) - its only purpose is 'beautification'.

So there is nothing "ornamental" about a bee's wing. Rational solutions to design problems often strike us as aesthetically pleasing. Which probably tells us something about our idea of beauty.

6/7/07 13:07  
Blogger dodeckahedron said...

A bee's wings are beautiful, not ornamental, I agree.

But his point is more about the perception of ornament. The subjective take on the results of a rational design. In this way, a bee's wing could be seen as ornamental.

And so, Herzog and de Meuron's Stadium, where "structure and facade are identical" is called "the birds nest".

8/7/07 16:23  

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