Last week’s design speak (scandinavian design) was fairly easy. But during last saturaday’s meeting, Ms. CFO pitched in a challenging topic for the section–art nouveau! All i could remember about that period style is Antonio Gaudi and his “skeletal” forms, tiffany lamps, and the Whiplash motif (yes, images of the Whiplash Dancers in a variety show made me remember that, haha!). This means I need to do some notebooks-and-handouts digging. Blag.
Art Nouveau (“new art”) was a radical design movement that started in the mid-1880s as a reaction against the plainness of the Arts and Crafts movement. (maybeI’ll do another post on the arts and crafts movement for design speak next time)
But like the Arts and Crafts movement, Art Nouveau embraced the idea of avoiding historical allusions in favor of creating new forms through abstraction and stylization. In contrast, Art Nouveau is more feminine being fluid and curvilinear in form, using sinuous lines often referred to as the Whiplash motif. It turns to nature, particularly plants, to find basis for their design and decoration. It also favored the use of machines in creating their designs, which allowed them to use cast iron and come up with complex forms in bigger applications.
Some critics say that the movement was not able to produce a real architectural style, only highly decorated structures. Instead, Art Nouveau flourished in the designs of interiors, fine arts, and the applied arts. Aside from the whiplash curves, Art Nouveau is also noted for adopting oriental motifs.
For architecture and interior design, Antonio Gaudi is one of the more popular names associated with Art Nouveau. His design for the Church of the Sagrada Familia is a noted Art Nouveau piece.
His furniture pieces are also quite interesting, very biomorphic in appearance. I remember my professor pointing out that his designs often resemble the skeletal form.
Of all the designers from this era, I think the most famous name is Louis Comfort Tiffany. Who doesn’t know the tiffany lamp? His workshop, Tiffany Studio, was the one who created and popularized the series of stained glass lamps. They are still popular right now especially for period style and eclectic interiors. However, art historians recently found out that L.C. Tiffany was not the one who personally designed the Tiffany lamps.
Today, the style is rarely used as the main design theme for an interior because, even before, it has appealed only to a select few. I guess too many swirling lines can make anyone dizzy! The application of the style nowadays is usually limited to the design of grilleworks, furniture, and accessories.
Tags: antonio gaudi, art nouveau, design speak, design terms, victor horta
Posted in design speak | 1 Comment »
What is Scandinavian design?
To many, Scandinavian design is synonymous to popular brands like Ikea
But for the more knowledgeable architects and interior designers, you would hear them associate Scandinavian design with such names as Alvar Aalto
…and Arne Jacobsen, iconic designers whose furniture are still in production and are very much in demand.
In my opinion, Scandinavian design, as we know it today, is more of a school of thought than a stylistic expression. The form and style of designed spaces and products are, I guess, incidental.
It originated from Scandinavia, the European region consisting of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden as well as Finland. It started out as a design movement during the Modern Era, around the 1930s to 1970s. Center to the design are the modern concepts of practicality, simplification of form, and affordability. These are based on the belief that good design should be made available to everyone, not only to the wealthy few. That’s why a lot of designers concentrated on creating everyday domestic items—furniture, fabrics, lighting, and ceramic & glass wares (think Ikea).
Come to think of it, these are the same reasons why many people love Ikea products—their designs are straightforward and practical. They use forms and patterns that are unique yet very classic, and most importantly, they are verrry affordable. Like what Scandinavian designers would say, it’s good design for all.
Shopping in ikea is like shopping in SM department store, only with better options! I especially love their lamps and their fabric choices. And also their printed table napkins (which i also use as gift wrappers, hehe).
The features of Scandinavian designs are simple and uncomplicated, with stylized forms and patterns, and practical functionality. There’s also an extensive use of form-pressed/laminated wood, plastics, anodized or enameled aluminum, and pressed steel for the materials. All these contribute in making it possible for the designs to be mass produced at a very low cost, making them accessible to everyone.
As for interior spaces, contemporary Scandinavian design uses a lot of whites in order to maximize the small amount of natural light that they get. Gray-toned pastels are also popular. Interiors are usually characterized as simple, sleek and airy (because of all the whites and pale neutrals), with “blonde” wood floors (white pine, ash, and beech) and, sometime, hints of bright colors to break the light interiors.
If you want a simple, uncluttered look without the cold, sterile appearance of pure modern styles, Scandinavian design is an option.
Want to know more? Check out this site: www.scandinaviandesigncenter.com
Tags: alvar aalto, arne jacobsen, design terms, ikea, pergo, scandinavian design
Posted in design speak | 2 Comments »