June 2009
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『装飾とデザイン』(山崎正和 中央公論新社,2007)


                          【Review:  “Design and Decoration”】


 Making something has two principles.   One is “design”, the other is “decoration”.

People may think there is no deference between them in daily life but to tell the truth,

They have completely different tendencies.   Comaparison Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, with Robert Venturi

show different tendencies of design and decoration.   Mies van der Rohe, modernism architect in 20 century,

made simple and functional architect.   He said, “less is more”.   On the other hand, Robert Venturi,

post modern architect, said “less is bore”.


 Etymology of “design” is design-nare which is Medieval Latin.    It has the same meaning with dessin which means

rough drawing in French.   In other words,  design is to plan and to compose general image.

And design tries to put forward function of items.   Seagram Building which is made by L.Mies van der Rohe shows

this concept of design strongly.   In fashion,  “suit” also shows this concept of design strongly.

As Anne Hollander says in “The Evolution of Modern Dress SEX and SUITS”,  suit is a fashion which remove surplus.

Suits is “designed” to enhance and articulate the nude body,  On the other hand,  decoration has been recognized

as a “Surplus” in Western culture.    E.H.Gobrich who is British Art Historian and wrote “The Sense of Order”,

said “decorative is defined as content that does not provide information, functionality”.


 This definition gives impractical image to decoration.   Let’s look at some works that shows these concept of

decoration strongly.   For example, “Fairy of Dragonfly brooch ”,  which was made by Rene Lalique,  is that.

This work minimizes utility as a brooch and decorates gold and many jewel.   As a second example,  “1010”

also shows the concept of decoration.    It is a fountain pen which was made by CARAN d’ACHE in 2007.


 These examples suggest that design and decoration is opposite concept.   Important thing is,  however,  that

we need both concepts to make works.    These two has opposite direction but they are not mutually exclusive.

Design sometimes guide decoration and vice versa.


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