The ornaments

An incitement to reconsider the role of the ornament on design works.

André Ricard, author AuthorAndré Ricard Followers: 503

José Antonio Giménez, translator TranslationJosé Antonio Giménez Followers: 53

Adding some decoration to the functional objects is a matter that the principles of the modern movement clearly rejected. According to them, useful things do not need decorative elements: it is enough with the form. From that masterful statement, design does not aim to decorate an object. In effect, on the design field, a product can be undervalued just for its decoration, even when its form has significant functional qualities.

Design magazines and exhibitions never show a decorated product; that disqualifies them without more consideration. Even if its design is excellent and the ornament is discreet, even beautiful, none of them is exhibited nor rewarded. The spontaneous reaction is always “what a pity it has this decoration”; it seems like a simple print deprives it from the other qualities.

This essential principle, that many of us have shared, deserves to be reconsidered today. It holds an overtaken aesthetic totalitarianism. A style that the design tastemakers impose to a public they consider aesthetically ignorant. The rule of not sullying design works with decorations has been imposed. The ones that show some ornaments are seen with certain discredit. However, this austere view has not arrived to impose itself on real world. What the social response shows is that a big part of the public, the majority, keeps on preferring decorated products. It is a verified fact that no matter how white, immaculate and gorgeous a flatware set is; the 80% of the sold flatware sets have decoration. They could be made with fine porcelain, chinaware or glass, but they will all have some graphology that adorns them. We should then recognize that preferring a restrained object, with no ornaments, keeps on being a minority trend that does not even defined a specific class. The taste for ornaments is really classless. The style and quality of the materials could change but this trend for the ornament is found in all society levels.

There exist then an unattended desire among the public. Is it really that aberrant to decorate a properly designed product? As long as an ornament does not interfere on the efficacy of the function, what could be the argument employed to disqualify it?

Staunchly maintaining this veto to the ornament shows that rationalism not only looks after the functionality of things, but it is also a style. A strict style with a puritanical look. A monastic aesthetic that rejects the decorations for subjective reasons, not for rational ones. Is this truly compatible with the objective statements of the own rationalism? And even more when we see how that that refuses the added decoration is supplied with the ruses of the features we give to the form with chamfers, blunts, grooves and different textures wisely distributed on the surface. These resources are a kind of integrated ornaments of which projected shadow “decorates” in a subtle way the best designs without being branded as decorativism.

If in a certain epoch, after years and centuries of decorative excess, the creative austerity that rationalism proposed was justified as a return to the functional essence of things, maybe now we should reconsider if it would not be fair to open contemporary design to the prudent ornament for meeting the demand that people require as identity or different means of expression. If design does not deal with this demand, it will be attended as it has been done until now anyway. What we reject accepting does not stop existing and we should ask ourselves if it would not be better to control the situation instead of ignoring it.

What do you think? Share your comments right now!


Comments:
0
Votes:
3

Help to spread this article by translating it

Translate to italian
QR code for access to article The ornaments

This article does not express the opinion of the editors and managers of FOROALFA, who assume no responsibility for its authorship and nature. To republish, except as specifically indicated, please request permission to author. Given the gratuity of this site and the hyper textual condition of the Web, we will be grateful if you avoid reproducing this article on other websites. Published on 13/05/2015

Download PDF

Main illustration of the article Design and everyday's life
Design and everyday's life Designers can make a real contribution to everyday's life quality projecting low-tech objects where the shape itself allows function.
Main illustration of the article Craftsmanship and design
Craftsmanship and design Craftsmanship can not be limited to reproduce past tools and essentials. There is a minor market of handmade products that design should attend to.

Debate

 logo
Your comment

Login with your account to comment on this article. If you do not have it, create your free account now.

Might interest you

Upcoming online seminars (in Spanish)

Refreshing courses to specialize with the best

Estrategia de Marca

Estrategia de Marca

Claves para programar el diseño de símbolos y logotipos de alto rendimiento

20 hours (approx.)
1 agosto

Tipología de Marcas

Tipología de Marcas

Criterios y herramientas para seleccionar el tipo adecuado al diseñar marcas

15 hours (approx.)
1 agosto

Branding Corporativo

Branding Corporativo

Cómo planificar, construir y gestionar la marca de empresas e instituciones

20 hours (approx.)
1 septiembre