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On why we like modernist chairs and houses, but classical clothes. - Page 5

post #61 of 96
I've posted 50% of my opinions from a Corbu chair and 50% from an Eames Lounge and ottoman.
post #62 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcbrown View Post


Question for anyone who thinks there is an incoherence here: is it possible to simultaneously have a taste for modern design and pre-modern design? Or is it incoherent for me to like both 20th century and 18th century furniture?

If that is possible, how is this even a topic we are discussing?


Of course it is possible to have an aesthetic that includes an appreciation of both 20th century and 18th century furniture. To elucidate that aesthetic might be difficult, but that difficulty would not hinder its existence or sustainability.

 

I, for one, would be willing to argue that both an 18th century dinning room chair by Thomas Chippendale and a 20th century lounge chair with ottoman by Charles and Ray Eames can not only be included within the same aesthetic, but that it was the same aesthetic that brought forth both ideas. This is an aesthetic which I embrace in theory and practice.

 

If there is incoherence, it would be due not to an aesthetic but other reasons.

post #63 of 96
Please expound on that argument.
post #64 of 96

Please expound on that argument.

 

I believe that if the aesthetic were functional, elegant, and efficient design, construction, and execution, that both the following would be included by definition despite the fact that their design, construction, and execution are near polar opposites.

 

 

 

 

post #65 of 96
This is similar to saying that all good clothing works together, where we know that there are certainly choices to be made that help to more narrowly define what works and what doesn't in combination.
post #66 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkinnyGoomba View Post

This is similar to saying that all good clothing works together, where we know that there are certainly choices to be made that help to more narrowly define what works and what doesn't in combination.


Not at all similar. You wish to apply the same aesthetic to the a composite of the elements that you would apply to the individual elements All good clothing works is true, but all good clothing works together is false, because some good clothing may not work together; e.g., an parka for Antarctica in winter and formal trousers suitable for white tie. Both are good clothing that work, but they do not work together. Your a priori judgement is false.

 

I applied the aesthetic to individual items and  you applied it to their possible composite, by ignoring the elegance of construction and execution that the composite would need to fulfill the aesthetic.

 

 

For example, I would never combine Chippendale furniture with Eames furniture and claim that I was still operating under a functional, elegant, and efficient design, construction, and execution aesthetic, because the construction and execution of the composition would not be elegant, although the individual elements might be elegant on their own. In fact, the composition would be disharmonious and an elegant fail. [Of course, I could now claim the popular esoteric aesthetic of "eclectic" for the composition, but now we would have two competing aesthetics.]

 

I could holdfast to my aesthetic by restricting Chippendale to a formal dinning area and the Eames to an informal lounging area, and defend it in principle as having used only items meeting my aesthetic to furnish all areas of my home, and therefore my entire home, by my single aesthetic despite there being multiple compositions which appear to fail my aesthetic if they were combined.

 

 

It is a false idea to believe that individual items, which are elegant on their own, would combine into an elegant composition.

post #67 of 96
I see what you are driving at.

You're missing one key thing however, a modern designer would not consider ornamental carving to be efficient design.
post #68 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcbrown View Post

Question for anyone who thinks there is an incoherence here: is it possible to simultaneously have a taste for modern design and pre-modern design? Or is it incoherent for me to like both 20th century and 18th century furniture?

If that is possible, how is this even a topic we are discussing?

Agree, I like some old shit and some new shit.
post #69 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkinnyGoomba View Post

I see what you are driving at.

You're missing one key thing however, a modern designer would not consider ornamental carving to be efficient design.


Really? First of all you are trying to redefine my aesthetic to include attributes of one that you hold as being "modern", so you are being illogical. I have missed nothing.

 

The problem for you is that my aesthetic includes many things which appear to be conflicting to you only because you lack understanding of it, despite the fact that I was explicitly clear about my aesthetic.

 

Second, what is it about the modern aesthetic that denies a modern designer or artist the ability to use ornamental features or features that would appear to be ornamental as part of the design, construction, and execution?

 

[FYI; by definition a painting is applying ornamentation to a canvas or other media and sculpturing is apply the same to stone or other media. Do we then have no modern paintings or sculptures? Likewise do all modern buildings lack facades which by definition are ornamental?]

 

What period does Art Deco styled architecture and furnishing fall within?

 

Do you understand that Art Deco style arose under the modern aesthetic?

 

Maybe you should better define what you mean by "Modern".

post #70 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by recondite View Post

I believe that if the aesthetic were functional, elegant, and efficient design, construction, and execution, that both the following would be included by definition despite the fact that their design, construction, and execution are near polar opposites.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)







There is nothing efficient in terms of effort required to create the carved 'chippendale' chair. Perhaps a vintage shaker chair would better exemplify efficient. Although Shaker design actually excudes genuine modernism in it's philosphy and aesthetic. Despite the fact that it predates the modernist movement.
post #71 of 96
^ thank you!

Recondite, if we could have this discussion without you attacking me i think it would be more interesting. Art Deco is not modern even though it emerged around the Bauhaus period and used many new materials. There is some overlap but the principals remain quite different.

An example of an Art Deco chair would be the Vanity Fair chair by Poltrona Frau.

I see your point about facade and paintings, but I do not believe a facade to be entirely useless. Covering the structure is necessary and doing so requires the use of a material. You'll often see modern designers leaning toward something simpler like quarter sawn veneer over flat sawn, or matching stones rather than feature peices. They often eliminate mouldings in favor of reveals, construct a continuous floor to ceiling wall panel from veneer over substrate ( rather then picture frame style panels.)

I'm not sure i define painting as needless ornament and intact it's often the modern painter who hangs his work without an exterior frame or someone like Pollock who removed imagery from his painting.

Modernism in my opinion is not simply discarding everything, but choosing much more selectively what is necessary.
Edited by SkinnyGoomba - 1/30/13 at 6:15am
post #72 of 96
The best example that I can think of in regard to this would be Danish modern. They do not discard craftsmanship or the look of comfort, infact often they simply re-imagine the previous styles. Take a look at the Hans Wegner chairs and you'll see an imagine of a classic wing chair in the Papa Bear chair, you'll see a Han dynasty inspiration in the Wishbone chair and the china chair collection. Finn Juhl's 4600 sofa has the tufting of a chesterfield, but the frame is much simpler and more directly achieves it's objective.

I would argue with anyone who finds modern to be stark and visually uncomfortable that Danish modern takes on many of the ideals of modernism without removing the 'human' factor. To somehow relate this to the original idea, I think one would find nothing out of place of they were to see a man in country tweed sitting in a modern Danish interior.
post #73 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkinnyGoomba View Post

^ thank you!

Recondite, if we could have this discussion without you attacking me i think it would be more interesting. Art Deco is not modern even though it emerged around the Bauhaus period and used many new materials.


No problem. I apologize for any perceived attack which I did not intend.

 

Please define the Modern aesthetic from your perspective. I have no idea how you define it. But for me, it doesn't include the idea of minimal or lacking ornamentation. Feel free to produce an recognizable opinion that supports your position.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gdot View Post


There is nothing efficient in terms of effort required to create the carved 'chippendale' chair. Perhaps a vintage shaker chair would better exemplify efficient. Although Shaker design actually excudes genuine modernism in it's philosphy and aesthetic. Despite the fact that it predates the modernist movement.

 

I did not include the manufacturing process in the aesthetic, so why introduce it. I have never seen manufacturing as part of the modern aesthetic.

 

Why would anything modern be chrome plated when that only adds to the expense and very little to function? Why dye the leather on anything modern for the same reason?

 

Many modern things are actually more labor intensive to manufacture or construct than something within a different aesthetic, especially when a new technique must be learned and transferred in order to create or manufacture the item. Many Modern buildings have experienced huge cost over-runs during construction for exactly this reason, making the manufacture the of the building anything but efficient or elegant.

 

Just like Skinny, your aesthetic is not necessarily Modern and certainly not mine which is:

 

 

Quote:

"functional, elegant, and efficient design, construction, and execution."

 

 

I differentiate between manufacturing and construction, as being two very different ideas and processes. Construction also includes the idea of what is put together and the way it is put together in addition to the simple process of putting something together. Something that uses less material but more labor could actually be a more efficient construction than the opposite; e.g., a less massive Chippendale versus the more massive Eames.

 

You wish to include manufacturing and Skinny wishes to include ornamentation into an aesthetic that would define modernism, yet neither efficient manufacturing nor lack of ornamentation  are within either my aesthetic or one that would universally define Modernism as I see it.

 

Feel free to produce a recognizable opinion that supports your position.

 

Shaker furniture may exude the Modern aesthetic, but not for the reasons that you have promoted especially since real Shaker furniture is largely handmade which while it might be an efficient means of construction, it is not an efficient means of manufacturing as the manufacturing could be automated and more efficient, but only after the great expense of producing a factory which may actually inefficient in its use of resources such as water, power, and land compared to a fully manual manufacturing method with much lower output.

 

Looking forward to continued discussion.

post #74 of 96
If you introduce a concept of efficiency without any stricter definition then I do not see it as being out of bounds to also include ornament and manufacturing. Process has a lot to do with efficiency.

Please keep in mind that often the original design has been modified in it's current form. The original designs were often made in stainless steel tubing or flat bar, no chrome plated steel. Finishing leather is nessecary for durability, ect.

An authenticity made Chippendale chair is quite a process involving hand made joinery, a hand burnished shellac finish and sewn upholstery by hand. Adding carving to it only adds complication withou much added value in terms of function and efficiency.

Just a side note, but a craftsman of that time period would sawn his own lumber, make his finish from a mixtur of shellac and spirits, mix his own hide glues and create any veneer nessecary for large panels all by hand.

This is why a Chippendale style chair, produced with modern techniques such as machine joinery and spray lacquer finish is often discarded as junk. The process of creation is just as much a part of the end result as any other element.
post #75 of 96
Great discussion in the past few pages. I would like to point, however, at one problematic aspects of some forms of modernism, the tyranny that can emerge when a search for optimality in some sense leads to a disregard of other, possibly equally (or more) important matters. Take architecture for example. The suburbs of Le Corbusier (a house is a machine for living in) are a near dictatorial imposition of a certain view of life of an architect, who seems oblivious to the organic factors that create and sustain communities. Somewhat closer to home, the venerable academic institution I work for has buildings that date back for half a millennium in some cases. When entering these buildings, one notices that they were created to provide a peaceful, tranquil environment to foster the pursuit of the divine in any way that might appear. Over the centuries, they have developed in a relatively organic matter as circumstances dictated and finance allowed. As such, they feel like dad's favourite overcoat. It may not be spic and span, and one may complain about the rickety stairs and the sloping floor, but they feel comfortable and eminently human. My office, however, is in a concrete Foster monstrosity, which is cold (often literally), painfully brightly lit and unfriendly. However, this seems to be the "optimal" way of building an office building. Much has been made of the pettiness of Poundbury, Prince Charles' newly-built traditional town, but it seems to me, in a way, to be more pluralist than other "modern" forms of urban planning.

That doesn't mean I'm a complete relativist. I believe there are minimum standards of beauty or elegance in clothing, for example. But once these minimum standards are met, to each his own.
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