Friday, January 27, 2012

Photoless Friday: Owen's next to last exhortation

Owen's next to the last bit of design advice:

PROPOSITION 36: The principles discoverable in the works of the past belong to us; not so the results. It is taking the end for the means.


I know I was....More......

Looking at the works commended in his Grammar of Ornament, which takes examples from countries all over the world and all across the ages, I wouldn't have expected this.

No mere copying-and-pasting design elements for our Owen, however. No historical pastiches, and they were plentiful during his day, no Neo-Gothic, no Neo-Renaissance, no Neo-Classicism, no Neo-Orientalism, no! no! no!

Then again, maybe I should have expected it.

It rings true to his exhortation about studying nature:

adopt the principles, abhore superficial copying.

If you think about it, it doesn't just cut one way.

Like a two-edged sword, for those loving modernism the implied exhortation is just as strong:

don't turn your nose up at works of the past just because they are "old"; they, too, should be studied in order to distill and profit from their accomplishments.

The farsightedness and continued usefulness of his advice continues to astound me.

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