Saturday, February 12, 2011

Art Nouveau vs. a single man called Adolf Loos

Art Nouveau example: Aesthetic driven design
of the flowers
Adolf Loos is the person who oppose the concept of Art Nouveau in the early 1900s, through his writing (or would I say rambling) called “Ornamentation is a Crime”. He said that the ornamentations and excessive design should be demolished as it would be a waste of human labour and materials. Instead of doing unnecessary on ornamentations in his works, a craftman could be doing something else or just work half a day. He believes that reason should determine the way we built and a design without ornamentation is a sign of spiritual strength. 

All talk and no essence, all hype and no value. That what Adolf Loos would say what ornamentation is all about. What I can say is that he is a practical man, and he wants to keep it simple. Below are several examples that he oppose to:

Art Nouveau example: Nature inspired hinges
Art Nouveau example: Grilles by Guimard
Goldman and Salatch Building:
The house that was ridiculed in 1909
Adolf Loos has a strong design philosophy and is not afraid to share it, even though it would not be popular with the majority of people. He proceed with his work of Goldman and Salatsch building in 1909 based on his philosophy, even though Art Nouveau is still a hype back then. And later ridiculed by the people in Austria, by saying it was too simple.

While in his work, Villa Müller, a stark contrast between the exterior (rigid/boring/box like) and interior (lavish, homely, traditionally based) can be seen. The idea of Raumplan (spatial space design concept created by Loos) is clearly shown in the house. A simple design of the outside of the house does not really reflect with the grand inside of it. Rooms are interconnected with each other and height of each rooms are suited for its functions. Practicality at its best... 

IMHO, this work reflected with what his view of modern man: practical (or somewhat boring) on the outside, but inside, he is rich and full of essence. What he is trying to convey is that a modern man does not rely on his façade to be interesting, but he would rely on his character to rise interest of people about him. Another example of don’t judge a book by its cover……

Villa Muller: The Solid Exterior
Villa Muller: The more traditional interior
His approach is later followed by major designers for the whole of 20th century.  Similar design approach can be seen in the video from the links below:

nice right?heh

For me, I am from an engineering background. I don't mind myself living in those houses. Practicality comes first. Pintu sesuka hati is better than kipas terbang. heh. Nuff said. I’m with the Loos.

Mode of transport: Kipas terbang
Mode of transport: Pintu sesuka hati

But do take note that ornamentation is sloooowly rising up again…… (yep, Pn Suzy is right)