Adolf Loos, Ornament and Crime

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  • Topic: Adolf Loos, Ornament, Economics
  • Pages : 2 (696 words )
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  • Published : April 12, 2012
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Who’s the criminal?
Ornament has been a main topic within architecture, what ornament implies, how it can be created and wether or not it should be used. For Adolf Loos however, one aspect is apparent concerning ornament, that ornament should not be used. Even though his manifesto “Ornament and Crime” might seem to imply that ornament is a crime, instead he explores how evolution of culture and use of ornament go hand in hand.

When beginning to explain his views and finds he goes into an argument of tattoos being a form of ornament. He argues how the Papuan man who has tattoos is not a criminal, however, a modern man that has tattoos is. He makes this distinction in order for us to realize that as our culture changes and matures, we should be able to realize what we should not do or use. Loos starts his argument implying that any additional unneeded design is ornament, whether it be on people or buildings. As Loos continues his argument he describes how people were depressed with “the realization that they could produce no new ornament”. With these other realizations is it not that our age simply refuses a style instead of being content in recreating the ornamented objects of millenniums past?

“Men have gone far enough for ornament no longer to arouse feelings of pleasure in them.” Once having said this Loos refers back to the Papuan and how no longer do their tattooed faces heighten aesthetic affect among each other. Loos does not believe that ornamentation heightens the joy in our lives. Show dishes that are highly elaborate meant to entice you and heighten the appearance of the meal can tend to have the very opposite affect. Just as with this culture, in our own culture people are choosing less ornamented or plain objects over ornamented even is priced the same. Since our culture is becoming desensitized to the use of ornament it only seems apparent that the sale of such items would be lessened. Even so, the production of such ornamented goods is...
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