"Overhead the albatross hangs motionless upon the air and deep beneath the rolling waves in labyrinths of coral caves; the echo of a distant time came willowing across the sand and everything is green and submarine"

Pink Floyd

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Reading Comprehension 6 (Actually 5)

1. Thonet Brothers chairs reflect the impact of the machine. The mass produced bentwood chairs display curves that mimic nature and can only be massed produced by the machine. This displays the machine’s influence upon design as Thonet Brothers demonstrate the expansion of idea that creates the foundation of the Art Nouveau movement. These chairs demonstrate the essence of the Gothic revival and the revolution of against Rococo fa├žade. The curved firmness of the legs demonstrates beauty incorporated within functionality, in contrast to Rococo which was carved detail. However they both capture the essence and balance of natural forms.
Architecture and Interior Design from the 19th Century, Harwood, p.25 Thonet Brothers Chair

2. Artifact:

The side table from 1871 demonstrates Anglo Japanese influence in its emphasis of open horizontal lines. Asymmetry is stressed on the uneven second level table. This creates a niche that is used to display smaller artifacts on different levels. Three levels of space, mimicking wall layout, are created with wooden horizontal boundaries. This also redefines horizontal space as the eye refocuses at every definition of geometry. Legs and supports are long and delicate like the branches of a tree. Japanese influence is demonstrated in the modeling of nature. Another example is the darker walnut stain applied to the wood. “Paneling in a dark stain shows Japanese influence” (Harwood p.409). This may be to set contrast to the lighter walls in the fill, or frieze; or perhaps to blend in the dado to give the essence of the tree springing from the forest represented by the coloring of the dado.
Side table, 1871
Edward William Godwin

The Morris and Co. parlor is a space demonstrating Japanese influence. The bottom four feet of the wall, the dado, is dark colored to set a backdrop for furniture. This may also represent where the tree line meets the horizon, depending on the colors of the fill and frieze. The ceiling is coffered and “most ceilings are very decorative” (Harwood p. 412). The decoration is of fluent peacock feathers. “Also characteristics of the Aesthetic Movement are peacock lavish patterns” (Harwood p. 406). More than likely the color of the feathers is blue-green, “a signature Aesthetic Movement color” (Harwood p.406). A portier hangs from the header of the door from rods to shut out drafts and enhance comfort. Windows have long flowing curtains with embroidered fabric. This extensive use of fabric is evident in Japanese culture. Decorative andirons hold wood in the fireplace.

A Morris Parlour

The Ho-o-den in Chicago not only represents Japanese architecture it was designed and built by the Japanese. The horizontal line is emphasized. During the Arts and Crafts Movement Frank Lloyd Wright would pick up on this emphasis of the natural horizontal plain, later to be referred to as the Prairie Style. Sectioning off of spaces into shapes by the horizontal line reinforces the buildings geometry. The roof overhang turns towards the sky in the classic calligraphic symbol to ward off the spirits. Fabric covers the windows and hangs from the soffit and doors. Decorative geometric patterns are woven into the fabric to possibly symbolize virility and longevity.  

Historic Oak Park has many houses displaying qualities of Japanese architecture. Many houses were designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. His Arts and Crafts era influenced houses draw in the theme of Japanese architecture well. Horizontal lines and geometric shapes take form in the Prairie Style houses. The hip roof draws in aspects of the Egyptians while the large overhang is reminiscent of the Japanese style. Wright stacking of the horizontal line resembles Japanese influence.
Oak Park Philadelphia

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