i+D - January/February 2020 - 45

3.

Powerful Expressions
In the spirit of open dialogue from one politically driven style to another, the
transition from Baroque to Rococo must be mentioned. It began as an era
shrouded in deep, dark woods; heavy finishes; and imposing materials. It
was ecclesiastical and, above all else, dictated by the king. The highly ornate
Baroque influence thrived rampantly under the reign of Louis XIV at the
Palace of Versailles, where court life was designed to reflect the king's every
whim and began and ended inside the palace.
"In the 16th and 17th centuries, Baroque arose partly to re-inject spiritual
vitality into Catholicism in the wake of the Reformation, and partly to
assert the glory of absolute monarchies," expounds Coffman. "Eighteenthcentury Neoclassicism in England was very much the architecture of the
Whigs, whereas Baroque was seen as the architecture of the Tories," the
country's two political parties at the time. When political sensibilities shifted
and Rococo flourished into existence, there was no shortage of theatrical
cues and ornamental whimsy left by way of a distinctly Baroque aesthetic,
but what abounded was an unprecedented freedom through design and
architecture. Through lighter materials and softer tones met with sweeping
romantic gestures, an element of personal preference came to light.
Suddenly individualism had a voice, a perspective, a position that begged
to be expressed.
In search of carving out space both on a political forum and on a smaller,
homebound scale, more and more pivotal design-driven movements began
to take shape and ultimately form popular thought of the day. For instance,
the Arts and Crafts movement grew out of a dissatisfaction with industrial
production and a firm belief that an object's value resided, in large part, in
the human labor, time, and ingenuity that went into it. Thus, a perfect,
mass-produced ornament is inferior to an imperfect, handmade one.
"It's a noble idea," Coffman states, "but the world voted with its wallet.
The Bauhaus shared the Arts and Crafts' conviction that everyday life should
be beautiful but, unlike William Morris and his colleagues, embraced the
machine and mass production. The tradeoff sacrificed the veneration of the
individual craftsperson for the benefit of making beautifully designed objects
cheaper, and thus available to far more people."
Laurent points out that after Germany's defeat in World War I, those in
society sought to radically express themselves, as they had previously been
suppressed by the old regime. A rise in modernism, simplified forms, and an
absence of ornamentation followed, and the Bauhaus school flourished until
the Nazis shut it down in 1933. "With the school closed," Laurent notes,
"the professors began emigrating and disseminating Bauhaus modernist
principles where they next called home." Before we knew it, for example,
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe set up shop in Chicago.


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i+D - January/February 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of i+D - January/February 2020

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i+D - January/February 2020 - Cover1
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https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/id/20211112
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20200708
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