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Apartment foo-nishing - Page 78

post #1156 of 2411
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dopey View Post

You have set yourself an ambitious goal.
Have you read À rebours? I am not sure you would like it (I didn't), but you are reminding me of it now. It is also worth reading if you want to push your aesthetic views out along the lines you have been doing.

Nobody is perfect and I don't pretend to be.

All I can say is that I try my best to understand what makes different things "good." It is tiring and exciting. It is hard not to get deep into things, actually.

I tried to not care about our rug, until I realized all the cheap ones we were looking at were facsimiles of traditional, regional styles. There were a few contemporary designs we really liked too, but they were all poorly made at our price point. After researching, I couldn't bring myself to get anything short of "real."

Anyway, I've found that there is usually a sweet spot for value, which gets you nearly the highest possible balance of authentic design and honest craftsmanship. The quality may not be at the 99.9th percentile, but it us usually way over the 90th percentile mark, if not the 95th or even 98th. In some contexts, there is no improvement possible in "quality" beyond that point. In any event, spending more usually only gets you added ornament, historical significance, greater rarity, etc.

In the long run, hitting that sweet spot saves us money as it gets us things we are proud to have and take care of. When we spend less on a thing, out of budgetary necessity, we inevitably feel like we need to improve upon it later.
Edited by mafoofan - 8/18/13 at 1:54pm
post #1157 of 2411
Quote:
Originally Posted by mafoofan View Post

. . .
All I can say is that I try my best to understand what makes different things "good." It is tiring and exciting.
This I can understand. But for many things, I am simply not interested and don't find the investigation all that exciting.

And you should read that book. I found it tedious, but it is still important (not influential, but important anyway), especially if you are interested in developing an aesthetic approach to life.
post #1158 of 2411
Quote:
Originally Posted by mafoofan View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by sugarbutch View Post

Like in a rug made in India?

Are you keeping track?

Dopey and I broadened the discussion to cover quality more generally. The issue with an Indian-made Beni Ourain is not that it is necessarily poorly made, but that it is necessarily fake.

I am keeping track, and, yes, I was tweaking you a bit. My point is that authenticity of origin is not requisite for good taste. A nice object, made of quality materials, which meets the functional need (should one exist) doesn't cease to be tasteful inherently because it comes from somewhere other than its traditional source. That authenticity may be valuable and/or desirable, but it's not really what makes or breaks the tastefulness of the object.
post #1159 of 2411
He gets his suits from Southern Italian intellectual property thieves, not London, so I am sure he would agree.
post #1160 of 2411
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dopey View Post

And you should read that book. I found it tedious, but it is still important (not influential, but important anyway), especially if you are interested in developing an aesthetic approach to life.

Will definitely look it up. Sounds dope.
Quote:
Originally Posted by sugarbutch View Post

I am keeping track, and, yes, I was tweaking you a bit. My point is that authenticity of origin is not requisite for good taste. A nice object, made of quality materials, which meets the functional need (should one exist) doesn't cease to be tasteful inherently because it comes from somewhere other than its traditional source. That authenticity may be valuable and/or desirable, but it's not really what makes or breaks the tastefulness of the object.

Authenticity is fundamentally intertwined with function when it comes to aesthetic things. Take Beni Ourain rugs, for example. The symbols mean something and are not intended to be mere decoration. Also, the design of the rug reflects the needs and resources of the tribal people who make them. They are colored the way they are because that is how the local sheep are colored. They are made the way they are to be particularly warm and adaptable to different uses (floor covering, bedding, etc.).

When some Indian factory makes a rug in a somewhat similar appearance, no matter the quality of workmanship, all that is lost.

Put another way, if all I wanted was a shaggy rug and didn't want to spend time looking for an authentic Beni Ourain, I'd buy an inexpensive, contemporary shaggy rug that is not supposed to look like a Beni Ourain at all.
Quote:
Originally Posted by dopey View Post

He gets his suits from Southern Italian intellectual property thieves, not London, so I am sure he would agree.

I think you have me confused for an NSM client. devil.gif
post #1161 of 2411
I suppose it's just as well all these nice things cost so much. If one were able to purchase everything at such a young age, tastes would inevitably change and you would be stuck with all of this expensive stuff. Taking time between the purchases to research, discover, and modify a the plan probably builds a more 'tasteful' home.

Took the wife to a flea market today, then checked out a few midcentury modern vintages stores on the way home. One could decorate an apartment very well on a limited budget. The pieces wouldn't have the historical significance of the DWR pieces but that wouldn't bother me so much. Vancouver suburbs are ConMod central so the demand on actual vintage modern furniture isn't significant. Seattle and Portland are good markets for this as well.
post #1162 of 2411
Thread Starter 
Eh. We bought a lot of our nice furniture in our mid-late twenties. Sure, there are things that could have been more ideal in some instances, but we made sure to pick pieces that could easily be adapted to new settings and uses.
post #1163 of 2411
Showed the wife a chesterfield resembling the Knoll (black leather) and she made a comment about how square-armed chairs aren't comfortable. I'd threaten her with divorce but she makes more than I do.
post #1164 of 2411
Quote:
Originally Posted by mafoofan View Post

Authenticity is fundamentally intertwined with function when it comes to aesthetic things. Take Beni Ourain rugs, for example. The symbols mean something and are not intended to be mere decoration. Also, the design of the rug reflects the needs and resources of the tribal people who make them. They are colored the way they are because that is how the local sheep are colored. They are made the way they are to be particularly warm and adaptable to different uses (floor covering, bedding, etc.).

I think "authenticity", as you define it, is fundamentally impractical. To take an aesthetic object from its original milieu and attempt to apply the same logic that brought about its existence to a completely different setting is an exercise in... I don't know what, but it's something I don't subscribe to.

E.g. (using your own points) ...

The symbols mean something... to the tribesmen who wove them. To us it's just a pretty pattern - mere decoration. Yes, the design of the rug reflects the needs and resources of the tribal people who make them... which has nothing to do with the intended setting of a NYC apartment.

Given the rug is already shorn of its deeper symbolic meaning, and serves no other need rather than (mere) ornamentation, I don't think it's a cardinal sin to disregard origin or even manufacture. It's only purpose is its aesthetic/tactile impact, the other factors are strictly speaking irrelevant.

However if there is new symbolic meaning attached to the rug, e.g. reflecting the owner's taste/experience, then I see how "authenticity" might be an important issue.
post #1165 of 2411
On this last point I agree with Foo. The object is more interesting if it is true to itself and its original purpose, even if it is then repurposed for something else or displayed in a different context where it may not be perfectly suited. Of course, the object itself has to be interesting. That is why Foo is buying tribal carpets and not buying used wall-to-wall carpets ripped up from other people's ranch houses and folding them onto his floor plan.
post #1166 of 2411
Quote:
Originally Posted by mafoofan View Post


Sorry, maybe I wasn't clear. I totally get that. It's not being cheap that's the problem; it's fakeness. If I wanted to spend less money than it would take to get a real Beni Ourain, I simply wouldn't buy a Beni Ourain-style rug.
 

 

And on this I agree, would never buy anything fake - I'd rather go for alternative products! But having said that I'm not sure about the origin and the history behind the shag carpet as a design. There might be an "original shag carpet" out there and hence making mine a copy. I dont think fakeness is always clear when it comes to patterns and some designs, not in the same way as fake designer clothes, bags and iconic furniture. Not really sure what my point is, maybe that I would consider buying a fake if no one knew there was an original? Ignorance is a bliss?

post #1167 of 2411
Quote:
Originally Posted by mafoofan View Post

Sure, people can pick what they care about. Yet, it seems to me that real taste is somehow transcendent, no? To me, it is about understanding and appreciating the intrinsic good in a thing--yet, such intrinsically good qualities tend to flow across different contexts. If I care about authenticity in one area, under the pretense that authenticity is fundamentally virtuous, it seems odd that I would not value it highly in other areas as well.

You know what they say about foolish consistency.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sugarbutch View Post

I am keeping track, and, yes, I was tweaking you a bit. My point is that authenticity of origin is not requisite for good taste. A nice object, made of quality materials, which meets the functional need (should one exist) doesn't cease to be tasteful inherently because it comes from somewhere other than its traditional source. That authenticity may be valuable and/or desirable, but it's not really what makes or breaks the tastefulness of the object.

Absolutely correct. When it comes to aesthetics, a thing is beautiful or not in itself and in relation to other things. Thinking something is more or less beautiful after you discover it is "authentic" is the antithesis of taste.

An excessive focus on "authenticity" is no more tasteful than an excessive focus on cost. It is both boorish and vulgar.

Too much emphasis on provenance and you end up with this.


Quote:
Originally Posted by mafoofan View Post

Authenticity is fundamentally intertwined with function when it comes to aesthetic things. Take Beni Ourain rugs, for example. The symbols mean something and are not intended to be mere decoration. Also, the design of the rug reflects the needs and resources of the tribal people who make them. They are colored the way they are because that is how the local sheep are colored. They are made the way they are to be particularly warm and adaptable to different uses (floor covering, bedding, etc.).

When some Indian factory makes a rug in a somewhat similar appearance, no matter the quality of workmanship, all that is lost.

Authenticity may be intertwined with function for these things in their original context, but you are using them in a completely different context. In this new context, "authenticity" will often either be irrelevant or even potentially offensive. Take, for example, the symbols on a Beni Ourain carpet. The symbols may mean something but if you neither understand them nor appreciate them you risk using -- and abusing -- them completely out of context. Obviously, the Beni Ourain don't mind, at least not too much. They know perfectly well that people are buying them up to use as carpets in apartments.

But using things, especially religious symbols, that you do not understand or fully appreciate, is pretty fraught. I trust you will not be installing a Buddha -- especially one looted from a temple -- in your foyer to use as a hat rack.

The point is that authenticity's role is one thing when an object is being used for its original purpose in its original context. It is another thing entirely when you are ripping the object out of that context and using it as a decorative accent for your Knoll sofa.
post #1168 of 2411
Dropping this here because it seems appropriate to the current state of the conversation and because I was led to it by way of a post earlier in this thread:



In case you doubt its authenticity, the description states "Wear consistent with age and use".
post #1169 of 2411
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bounder View Post

Thinking something is more or less beautiful after you discover it is "authentic" is the antithesis of taste.

An excessive focus on "authenticity" is no more tasteful than an excessive focus on cost. It is both boorish and vulgar.

This could not be more ridiculous and wrongheaded.

There seems to exist the common belief that "taste" and "style" are a matter of impulse rather than refinement. However, it seems patently clear that the finest things in life require a person to develop his knowledge and understanding to appreciate them. That's why "good" taste and "refined" taste are synonymous (we don't mean it as an insult when we say someone's taste is "refined," do we?). How can something be refined if it is fully-developed at its inception?

This should be even more obvious when we consider what it takes to create material things that are tasteful. They don't happen by accident and are not born from untrained, impulsive action. Craftsmen and artists spend years (lifetimes, even) refining their abilities and sensibilities to create their best work. They spend a great deal of that time trying to uncover the authentic and true. Why on earth do you imagine it should be so different for the mere observer or consumer?

I can think of reasons why. The chief one is that it is much easier on one's psychology and ego to pretend his taste cannot be tested, challenged, or improved. Yet, every individual I've seen on this forum who subscribes to that belief has terrible taste and cannot dress themselves, nonetheless pick out a rug.

Authenticity matters because some of the reason certain things exist is only due to their grounding in social, cultural tradition. Once divorced from that tradition, many such things have little good reason to exist at all, and it would be far more courageous (read: tasteful) to simply abandon them altogether.

To be blunt: if knowledge, experience, understanding, education, etc., do not compel your taste to evolve, you probably don't have any. It's also why stupid people always have little taste.

As for "excessive focus" on cost being vulgar . . . well, let's just that in my experience that sort of criticism is most common amongst those most fearful of looking like they cannot afford things. You know the type: those who feel they are, deep-down, entrenched in one class, yet who are desperate be associated with a higher one. It's a repugnant insecurity, really. However rich or poor you are.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bounder View Post

Authenticity may be intertwined with function for these things in their original context, but you are using them in a completely different context. In this new context, "authenticity" will often either be irrelevant or even potentially offensive. Take, for example, the symbols on a Beni Ourain carpet. The symbols may mean something but if you neither understand them nor appreciate them you risk using -- and abusing -- them completely out of context. Obviously, the Beni Ourain don't mind, at least not too much. They know perfectly well that people are buying them up to use as carpets in apartments.

But using things, especially religious symbols, that you do not understand or fully appreciate, is pretty fraught. I trust you will not be installing a Buddha -- especially one looted from a temple -- in your foyer to use as a hat rack.

So, then, the question for you is whether it is your level of refinement or your intellect that poses the greater limitation?

I have no interest in co-opting religious symbols for inappropriate, decorative use. That is a fundamental reason for trying to understand these rugs better. Yet, you cannnot smell out the contradiction in your own analysis, can you? The purpose of learning about a thing's authenticity is to learn about its original function. If I found out that my rug was supposed to be a sacred funeral shroud of some sort, I would not want it to be my rug.
Edited by mafoofan - 8/20/13 at 8:15am
post #1170 of 2411
Yet you want a Beni Ourain when you know next to nothing about what makes a good Beni Ourain?

Sorry, doesn't add up.

Where is the "knowledge and understanding to appreciate them"? Looks like you put cart before horse there.
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