Saturday, October 4, 2008
Eclecticism, Part B
The height of the Eclecticism Movement came towards the end of the 19th century until the middle of the 20th century. During this time, instead of producing completely new design, designers were looking to the past to get inspiration. “In design, it (eclecticism) has come to mean the practice of selecting from historical precedents whatever seems suitable or attractive for a particular project” (Pile, 301). Although Eclecticism thrived in both Europe and America, it seemed to expand more in America. Americans viewed the idea of incorporating history into their designs as producing culture and status. In Europe, the major incorporation of Eclecticism was in the Paris Ecole, the first true professional school of architecture. Students produced drawings of historical buildings as part of their schoolwork. This way of designing at Ecole became known as the Beaux-Arts style. One key difference between European and American Eclecticism is that in Europe, students and designers studied historic buildings in order to understand their attributes, not to imitate them. During this time in America, the idea was that “originality was forbidden; only imitation of the past was tolerable” (Pile, 303). This led to cities and towns being developed with various styles and unrelated buildings. Styles that were used in America included French Renaissance, Late Victorian, and Roman Classicism. A style known as American Renaissance was introduced and included buildings such as The New York Public Library and New York’s Grand Central Station. Interior designers also had to take historical precedents and incorporate those interior designs into the buildings or homes they were decorating. Should designers of this time have looked to past precedents for inspiration? This was a time of new ideas and new ways of thinking. Does referring to the past seem counterproductive? How do you come up with a new idea if you are always looking back in time? Or was that their goal?
This blog is intended for the interior design students in the college of design at the University of Kentucky. It was created with the intent to present students with information, providing them with a channel for contemplation and discussion.