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On why we like modernist chairs and houses, but classical clothes. - Page 6

post #76 of 96
You like modernist chairs and houses, and classical clothes because design mags and petit-bourgeois good taste tell you to, it is not a philosophical choice but a sociological one.
post #77 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by recondite View Post


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.



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:



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.
Quote:
Originally Posted by recondite View Post


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.



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:



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.

Actually I see it totally differently than you do. As one of the primary, if not THE primary driving philosophy behind 'modernist' design is directly related to efficiency. ie: 'Form Follows Function', 'A Building as a machine for living', a willingness to strip away all ornament in the service of efficiency, a focus on exploiting the potential technological advances. For their time and place the Shakers were actually at the forefront of this thinking. Of course, they did not, participate in the 20th century implementation of the modernist movement, as by that time they were nearly completey defunt. However their handcrafted methods actually employed every technological advance they could create or exploit furing their time and place.

This is not to shift the focus from the discussion of modernism in general to a discussion of the 'virtues' of the Shaker movement. But merely to shift the focus of the conversation closer to the philosophical core of the 'modernist movement'.

I guess I should mention at this point that when I received my education in architecture the modernist movement was in it's fullest and most overblown state (the 1970s). As a matter of fact I still believe the philosophical 'rationalisation' of good design has nearly killed the profession of architecture.

The current 'modernist revival' is in my opinion very far removed from the philosophical movement that drove design through much of the 20th century. It is, in my opinion, for the most part nothing more than a 'fashion trend' that will come and go yet again.

This not to say that I don't find much to be excited about in the current modernist revival. Just that I have become very cynical as to design being anything but ephemeral and shifting.
Edited by Gdot - 1/30/13 at 11:19am
post #78 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by RogerC View Post

My office, however, is in a concrete Foster monstrosity, which is cold (often literally), painfully brightly lit and unfriendly.

 

Social Sciences Division?

 

It actually somehow manages looks OK despite itself from the outside (I take your word for the interior!), and is certainly a lot more pleasant to look at in context with its neighbours than the Scylla & Charydbis of the Banbury Road, the monstrosities also known as the Mathematical Institute & the Physics Department. They're the main reason I'm glad the Parsonage opposite maintains that roadside wall; lets you have tea outside in summer without throwing up by having to look at those buildings. laugh.gif

post #79 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by RogerC View Post

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.

Have you read: The Architecture of Humanism: A Study in the History of Taste by Geoffrey Scott?

A bit of a minor architectural classic, Scott operated on the fringes of the Bloomsbury set. He spent some time in Florence and was greatly influenced by the Renaissance architecture he saw there. In his book he talks about the 'humanist instinct' he saw in the work of Amberti and Bruneleschi. Your point about the Oxford colleges reminded me of this.

Although order can be a good thing in architecture it is not by itself sufficient for good architecture. Many of the ugliest buildings exhibit order to a high degree.

If Corbs work is to be judged by his own measure, that is 'A house is a machine for living in' the Villa Savoye I saw pictured a few pages ago was/is a rank failure.
Edited by Lovelace - 1/31/13 at 3:18pm
post #80 of 96
This is a great thread.

I recall somewhere commenting a while ago that it is possible to apply art history terms (mannerist, classical, neo-classical, baroque, etc) to different ways of wearing classic clothes. I stand by that, imperfect analogy though it is.

I can admire some modernist buildings as works of art. (And I had a couple of Wassily chairs once, which were ridiculously comfortable as well as nice to look at.)

But I can equally admire the temples and pyramids of Egypt, though the latter were built by slaves in the service of a barking mad religion, commissioned by incestuously-conceived murderers.

I am afraid that modernism in architecture fundamentally denies the human. The irrational, the subsconcious; the reasons why office workers in a Mies building want their ugly coffee mug, their photo of their family and their own screensaver disturbing the homogeneity.

Modernism was an understandable reaction against all aspects of the culture that gave us the tragedy of WW1. Ironically, it drew on craftsman-based movements like Arts and Crafts, but with an added dose of automoblies, aeroplanes and eugenics. Like most immmediate reactions to tragedy, it reacted too far and so was not sustainable.

The essences of classical clothing are craftsmen and individuality. Not "look at me" individuality, but items that are commissioned, selected and assembled for wear by an individual, made - ideally - by an individual, and fitted to an individual.

It is notable that most famous so-called functional modernist furniture is expensive and hand-made from select materials. The real legacy of modernism is IKEA, not Eames.

By the way, on columns, strict neo-classical architects would argue that columns must be functional. All the scholarship I have seen suggests that the Greco-Roman orders of column were an attempt in stone to reproduce previous models in wood - hence,, for example, the acanthus leaves. There is a rough parallel here with the redundant but appealing elements of classical clothes - the lapel button-hole, vents or pockets originally designed for use riding a horse, or empty ticket pockets.
post #81 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuuma View Post

You like modernist chairs and houses, and classical clothes because design mags and petit-bourgeois good taste tell you to, it is not a philosophical choice but a sociological one.

 



It certainly is a sociological question, but the sociology of taste is just a little bit more complex than that - the consensus of research at present is far from a one-way diffusion of taste from taste-makers to consumers. As a recent article had it, taste is composed of all "the ways we make ourselves sensitized, to things, to ourselves, to situations and to moments, while simultaneously controlling how those feelings might be shared and discussed with others."

post #82 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geezer View Post

The real legacy of modernism is IKEA, not Eames.
post #83 of 96
To me, something like this mass produced item from the turn of the century (1900, I think) would be the height of modernism in menswear


Uniform and unadorned, comfortable and functional. Remember, though the primary function of mechanical and agricultural work wear is to separate and protect the person from the grimy environment, the primary function of office work wear is to protect the pristine environment from the grimy ape beneath.

I think its no coincidence that something like this was developed as city wear at the time that skyscrapers were developed as office technology and the idea of modernist design, itself. (Nor that it had a revival contemporaneous with mid century modernism).
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geezer View Post

This is a great thread.

I recall somewhere commenting a while ago that it is possible to apply art history terms (mannerist, classical, neo-classical, baroque, etc) to different ways of wearing classic clothes. I stand by that, imperfect analogy though it is.

....

By the way, on columns, strict neo-classical architects would argue that columns must be functional. All the scholarship I have seen suggests that the Greco-Roman orders of column were an attempt in stone to reproduce previous models in wood - hence,, for example, the acanthus leaves. There is a rough parallel here with the redundant but appealing elements of classical clothes - the lapel button-hole, vents or pockets originally designed for use riding a horse, or empty ticket pockets.

This is on the right track, but the key elements of "classical" clothing, which separate it from the modern above, are padded shoulders, the lower button stance, the structured chest, the pinched waist are all neo-classical nature, all inspired by the antique aesthetic ideals, trying to construct the illusion of the perfect form, a kind of a statue of a perfect torso on each mans chest.
post #84 of 96
..
post #85 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyingMonkey View Post




It certainly is a sociological question, but the sociology of taste is just a little bit more complex than that - the consensus of research at present is far from a one-way diffusion of taste from taste-makers to consumers. As a recent article had it, taste is composed of all "the ways we make ourselves sensitized, to things, to ourselves, to situations and to moments, while simultaneously controlling how those feelings might be shared and discussed with others."

Yeah, it was a quip. I would agree that the mechanism of constructing and communicating to ourselves and to others a coherent narrative about ourselves in a world made not of things but of facts isn't just about reading some mags and getting the same couch displayed in its glossy pages. In fact taste is as much about how you combine and explain micro-interests into a macro information about yourself called (good) taste.

*
post #86 of 96
post #87 of 96
Cheesus!?!?!?!?!?! Is that you?
post #88 of 96
That comment about ikea is a bit misplaced, the architects that designed these peices specified a bit of quality for a reason. Ikea is much more a part of the contemporary throw-away culture than true modernism. They mimic at best.
post #89 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by AldenPyle View Post

This is on the right track, but the key elements of "classical" clothing, which separate it from the modern above, are padded shoulders, the lower button stance, the structured chest, the pinched waist are all neo-classical nature, all inspired by the antique aesthetic ideals, trying to construct the illusion of the perfect form, a kind of a statue of a perfect torso on each mans chest.

+1. Indeed. 19th century English were infatuated with Classical Greek Civilization, Classical English tailoring recapitulates that neo classical aesthetic.

The clothing analog to modernist architecture would be the Mao Suit.


Edited by Coburn - 1/30/13 at 7:32pm
post #90 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkinnyGoomba View Post

That comment about ikea is a bit misplaced, the architects that designed these peices specified a bit of quality for a reason. Ikea is much more a part of the contemporary throw-away culture than true modernism. They mimic at best.

It really depends on the item. On balance, what you say is probably closer to the truth, but a lot of what they make is of decent quality and pretty well considered. Of course, the majority is disposable.
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