Monday, October 5, 2009

Art Noveau and the vienna secession: Austria and Unites States

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 When Art Noveau is thought of, feminine delicate lines come to mind, but this noveau reform is more of esthetic design and the unity of arts that started in France, but later spread all around the world, like Austria and the United states(Raizman, 2004, 80). As it reached Austria, a group of artists and architects formed together that created the Secession. This group “rebelled against the rigidity and elitism of academic standards for the fine arts and sought both freedom of expression as well as active involvement in the decorative arts” (Raizman, 2004, 91). All of the efforts put forth by this group was to improve the decorative arts in Austria. A group that branched from the secession was known as the Werkstatte, who produced many home items, that bore the artists stamp and promoted originality.  Art Noveau, at least in the United States, falls down to two people: Louis Comfort Tiffany and Louis Sullivan. Tiffany was the son of the popular Tiffany jewelry company. He was very interested in the decorative arts, and started a firm in 1897. His rooms were overcrowded ( much like victorian era) but took on the awareness of the arts and crafts movement( pile, 296). He eventually got into stained glass and became very well known in that field, especially for his “tiffany” lamp, which even today, is still easily recognized. Eventually, the taste of Americans altered after the WWI, but he is still noted as a leading influence in the art noveau.

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The more popular figure is Louis Sullivan, creator of the saying “Form follows function.” He started a firm with Adler, who worked on the technical side while Sullivan worked with the design aspects. He was particularly fond with skyscrapers, which led to a string of well known buildings that have a vertical influence on the outside, with ornamental detail on the inside(Pile, 297). Throughout all of his buildings, he was very interested in the idea of a tall building being a design solution, and getting use of out height that could be created. Examples are the Wainwright building(done with Adler), the Guarunty building, and the Bayard building. What do you think Sullivan meant by form follows function? And you you think he carries this out through all of his design? 

3 comments:

Angela said...

“Form Follows function” is a very well known term coined by Louis Sullivan. I believe that it is implying that the shape of the exterior of a building or object should be based upon its intended interior function or purpose.

Sullivan clearly explains his strong belief of “Form Follows Function” in an article he wrote called “The Tall Office Building Artistically Considered” which quotes “It is the pervading law of all things organic and inorganic, of all things physical and metaphysical, of all things human and all things superhuman, of all true manifestations of the head, of the heart, of the soul, that the life is recognizable in its expression, that form ever follows function. This is the law.”

I do see a connection to this concept in his architecture. The buildings that Jess listed, the Bayard building, the Wainwright building and the Guaranty building all have very similar attributes. The tall rectangle shape of the buildings is representative of form and the horizontal and vertical lines are very focused on geometric lines in creating shape. Everything is clean and organized with ornamentation that decorates the exteriors elaborately, mostly seen around windows and columns. These buildings are all office buildings and the exterior implies professionalism for a working environment.

Eunyoung An said...

I agree with Angela.I also, believe that "form follows function"by Louis Sullivan means the exterior of an office building should reflect its interior structure and interior functions.By this meaning, I think Louis Sullivan brought this idea in buildings well such as the Bayard building, the Wainwright building and the Guaranty building as Jess mention.When I look at the Wainwright building which is one of his building,I can see the term "Form follows funtion". The exterior of this building is very vertical, straight, organized to create simple form of the building also, he used curvilinear shape from nature for the details.

Elizabeth Harr said...

"Form follows Function" is a very common term that we all know well. Basically how I believe this statement to be is this: The function of the building comes first meaning what the building is being used as and how it needs to function in order to be productive. After this is established then comes the form of the building. So in a more loose term the interior function comes first to the secondary exterior.

I do believe that this is shown throughout Sullivan's work. The three examples of buildings given are perfect examples of this "form follows function." The Wainwright building (done with Adler), the Guarunty building, and the Bayard building all perfectly show this through their ornamental and functional interior to their straight form exterior.

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.