Aldo Bintang H

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Content Page

I. Introduction —————————————————– Page 3

II. What is Modernism? —————————————-Page 4-5

III. What is Art Nouveau?—————————————Page 6-7

IV. Comparing the Ornaments?——————————–Page 8

V. Comparing the style?—————————————Page 9

VI. Decorative suit modernism?—————————-Page 10-12

VII. Conclusion ————————————————Page 12

Reference List



An architectural style is characterized by features of buildings or structures, either notable or historically identifiable. A style may include elements such as form, method of construction, building materials, and regional character.

Most architectural style can be classified within a chronology of styles which changes over time reflecting the change of fashions, beliefs and religions, or the emergence of new ideas, technology, materials which make new styles possible. Styles therefore emerge from the history of a society. They are documented in the subject of architectural history. At any era several styles may be fashionable, and when a style changes it usually changes gradually, as architects learn and adapt into new ideas.

Many architectural styles often represents the meaning behind its aesthetic look by using ornaments, and some of the style portrays that there is no point of adding ornaments for the aesthetic. However, functions, circulations, and new materials and technology are often being introduced to the future architecture. Is it true that architectural style does not need aesthetic for the building? Or do architectural styles need a meaning behind those building with aesthetic?

Therefore, I choose this topic regarding modernism vs. art nouveau as it is a very intriguing topic. Contrasting yet similar based on the history and style.

Reading 1

Modern Architecture
– Otto Wagner, 1902

Modern architecture is the term used to describe the simplified, unornamented building styles that emerged in the first half of the 20th century and became dominant after World War II. When it comes to modern architecture, many will think of Otto Wagner, who may be in fact the “father of modernism” in European architecture. He was born in Vienna in 1841 and studied in Academy of Fine Arts, where he studied for three years.

In 1894, He was appointed as a professor teaching architecture in Vienna Academy of Fine Arts, he served this position until 1913. Wagner was not the typical traditional teacher; he often broke away with traditional teaching methods, and focused on the basics elements that dominated architectural planning, such as material, structure and function. Even though several people were critical of his methods, his teaching was influential.

Modernism refers to a set of ideas and beliefs that emerged in the early 20th century; Wagner played a major role in revolutionizing modern architecture. His ideas and beliefs broke the traditions of olden centuries. His ideas focused on the use of new technologies and philosophies, particularly those that were unavailable in the previous century.

He implemented his ideas and philosophies in many buildings and projects he designed in Vienna, as the city expanded outside its medieval boundaries. Although the Ferdinandsbrücke was not built according to his design, Wagner’s feedback and progressive ideas did influence the generation.

The functionalist message that Wagner set forth was that “Modern art must yield for us modern ideas, forms created for us, which represent our abilities, our acts, and our preferences” and that “Objects resulting from modern views … harmonize perfectly with our surroundings, but copied and imitated objects never do.” Moreover, Wagner repeated the famous functionalist principle by the great German architect Gottfried Semper: “Necessity is the sole mistress of art,” to which he subsequently added his own emphasis on structure and materials.
Wagner later formed an approach often described as structural rationalism and pioneered the use of modern materials such as glass, steel, and especially aluminum. Wagner lived in Vienna throughout the second half of the 19th century, a time in which architecture style was revivalism. In his book Modern Architecture, it was told that Wagner called an end to revivalism designs and introduced modernism.

Wagner´s book Modern Architecture appeared in four editions between 1896 and 1914. His textual changes to the second edition of 1898 were slight but more extensive in both the third and fourth editions of 1902 and 1914. In the fourth edition Wagner added two new chapters and gave the book a new title ‘Die Baukunst unserer Zeit’.

Wagner believes that the world was changing and new styles of architecture need to follow with the rapid change of the world. He believes that we need modern designs and styles that are practical and also meet the needs of modern people. His radical and rationalist functionalist approach had an influential impact on the architectural community, and resulted in the revolutionary evolution of architecture.

Lastly in my opinion and conclusion, this book shows that Otto Wagner builds building that shows harmonious synthesis of form and function. It was really a remarkable breakthrough and portrays spirit of modernism at that era.

Reading 2

Art nouveau: art and design at the turn of the century
– Peter Selz and Mildred Constantine, 1960
Art nouveau was a movement in the history of design, influenced by William Morris. It is more of an architectural detail than style. It was popular because of the famous Maison de l’Art Nouveau, a Paris art gallery operated by Siegfried Bing.

Art nouveau was interpreted & manifested differently across the continent. It was named New Style in France; in Britain it inspired the modern style; in Germany it is manifested as jugendstil; in Austria it is often called Vienna Secession and in Spain where it was reimagined as Modernisme.

It emphasized and portrays nature and beauty and optimism reflecting the era of modernization. Its distinctive Characteristic is usually defined by its Swirling “whiplash curves,” lines taking on the shape of a whip; integrating Art with craftsmanship.

During Modern Era, Art nouveau is usually colourful in style and detailed in the architectural. Most often Art nouveau buildings will include features such as curved glass, arches and curved forms, mosaics, stained glass, Japanese motifs etc.

Art Nouveau was partly inspired by the Japanese culture, that’s why we can see some adoption of Japanese elements and concepts such as oriental and simple forms used in art nouveau as well as free composition, asymmetry and bright colours etc.

Not focusing only on exterior architecture, Art Nouveau is also a complete style that includes furnishings and interiors such as silverware, wallpapers etc. Art Nouveau influences or impact can be seen across many different areas. In addition to fine art—including drawing, painting, and sculpture it also heavily influenced contemporaneous decorative arts, like jewelry, furniture, and textiles, and architecture by modernist masters like Hector Guimard in Paris and Antoni Gaudí in Barcelona.

Given the experimental nature of its style and its extensive influence, it is not a surprise that Art Nouveau played a major role in popularizing an unconventional art form that is lithography. Prior to this Art nouveau movement, lithography was an underused method of printmaking, as woodcuts, engraving, and etching.
Jules Chéret—the “father of the modern poster”—introduced the color lithograph. This new innovation inspired artists like Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Alphonse Mucha to produce bright and bold advertisements making the Art Nouveau aesthetic even more accessible to the public.

Art Nouveau also served as an important link between Neoclassicism, which focused on classic art periods including Greek, Roman, and Renaissance themes, transitioning art to the modernist movements. Art Nouveau ended at the same time as Cubism and Surrealism were beginning.

What sets Art Nouveau apart from the Neoclassicist is the attempt by its artists to create a truly new form of art that did not mimic the past. Art Nouveau also sought to create an international style. That is why when tourists visit Paris in the 21st century, it is easy to look around and see the impact of Art Nouveau designs such as prints, pictures, signs, and wallpaper in public places and in the windows of cafes.

The Art Nouveau movement not only brings impact it also produced new themes in architecture. Curvy lines known as curvilinear in art, asymmetrical shapes and forms, surfaces with leaf and vine decorations, and other patterns that are featured Art Nouveau buildings.

Reading 3

Art Nouveau
– Klaus-Jürgen Sembach, 1991

This book explains about reforming the art movement of the twentieth century which is not only dealt with but how the political and economic movements are inspired and supported it.

This chapter such as Movement, Unrest and equilibrium are the historical phenomenon as it is characterized and presented with its own distinct local features. The community such as Brussels, Barcelona, Nancy, Glasgow, Helsinki and Chicago are being dealt with in subchapters such as Weimar, Darmstadt and Munich.

Vienna is the only city that achieved synthesis in its culmination and describing separately. These outstanding artist are being dealt with in detail in communicating with the respective cities for their greatest activity. This results in a complex picture of the symbiosis of an architecture, furniture design and craftsmanship within their corresponding approach to an artistic revitalization.

Art Nouveau is focusing on organic and natural forms. It was created through an up rise for a new style in building and furniture .The emphasis on the linear contours rather than the color where it usually represents the hues such as green, brown, yellows and blues. This art movement is committed to dominate the traditional hierarchy of the arts, which is viewed to the liberal arts like painting and sculpture and it is superior to craft-based decorative arts. Ornament was heavily used but the style died in the 1920s as it was too extravagant and considered as a waste of resources.

Modernism is an art movement created in the twentieth century and is concerned about the function of an object or building over the form. These pieces of design were often geometric and materials used were very much like those used for industrial. The movement was famous for being the first to move away from the traditions of the nineteenth century art. Other than that, Modernism was inspired from the old styles of art from art noveau

Reading 4

The Source of Modern Architecture and Design
– Nikolaus pevsne, 1981

This book is about the civilization is not well connected with the distant past by a continuous flow. The design of modern work rise and fall, crumble, extended. However, it was not up till after the Second World War which it gained mass popularity. This modernist planning was carried through as a solution for the previous failure of design and architecture to meet basic social needs.

Modernist planning was a trend back then and was used to solve problems, but the movement could not cater much to the social dynamics of community and families which result in many modernist buildings and furnitures to be demolished and replaced during the seventies. Therefore, the designers initially worked to solve design issues through the creation of urban utopias.

Modernism is a different contrast to Art Nouveau as they aimed to get rid of unnecessary ornament. This main focus of modernism is to get along with technology and functionality without the need of emphasis on ornament.

The style for modernism is to be as minimalist as possible and working with the community to please others. With the advancement of technology, Modernism covered many creative disciplines from the previous design and art to influence the design community where the power of machines rises and forced artist to strategically re-consider their practice, thus resulting a revolutionary and influencing designers to this day where new technology provided the chance for mass production.

The style for modern design is not to have any heavy textures, carving and wood tones and decorative. Therefore, most components of modern design supposed to have straight and curved lines, clean look and the use of new materials. The design is more sharp and curvey and at the same time being minimalist. For example, a modern design consisted of oversized tiles and rectified edges, sanded wood floors that minimize the grain, bookcases and shelves implanted onto the walls, rather than protruding into the space and having fewer walls.

Reading 5

Modernism and The Decorative Arts in France
– Nancy J. Troy, 1991

According to this book, Nancy J.Troy Argued that decorative arts are very important for understanding the early 20th century modernism. She researched about the effect of industrial and international competition on decorative arts in France while on the beginning of Art Nouveau period 1895 until culminated on Art Deco exhibition at 1925.

Troy’s book is a shows studies about decorative arts in France from the fin-de-siecle to the flowering of Art Deco after world War I, and an investigation by Le Corbusier with decorative in France during 1910’s.
Troy begins with checking the transformation in Art Nouveau in Paris which is a heterogeneous, international movement to a well-defined national style.

She focused on the social, economic, political and artistic circumstances that discouraged collaboration between French artists and industrialists, and contrasts this situation with the successful co-operative arrangements established by their German counterparts.

Troy analyzes that intervention in art decorative of cubist artist including Andre Mare, Fernand Leger, Albert Gleizes, Jean Metzinger, and Raymond Duchamp-Villon. She also shows how the ideologically changed reception of the decorative arts and affected the career of the pioneer architect of reinforced concrete, Auguste Perret.

Troy also provides a revisionist account of the well-known anti-decorative stance of Le Corbusier, revealing the significance of his early work as an interior decorator with professional links to major Art Deco designers, and demonstrating that his polemical discussions on the relationship of art and industry were neither isolated nor idiosyncratic but instead deeply embedded in contemporary discourse.

In my opinion this is well-written and clearly argued book as it makes a significant contribution to both literature of modernism.
The book has a quite clear and good photo to show evidence and more emphasize on each chapter of the book. It also shows that the modernism style inspired from the past era which are Art Nouveau and Art Deco. In addition, not only the Interior and architecture design but, furniture as well. The decorative arts are vitally important to an understanding of the development of modernism in the early 20th century.

The decorative arts provided access not only to aesthetic issues of style but also to such practical issues as function, modes of production, and economic competition. This book shows that a lot of history of modernism because she gives subtle lesson in the method of history, as well as a whole new perspective of evolution regarding interior decoration, design and architecture from 1890s to 1925. Moreover, Troy also show demonstration that the decorative arts because they are never posited as autonomous, are especially revealing to the historian of modern art is brilliantly conducted.

I believed that there are events or histories that aimed for a change in art history; this mechanism of change is the object of art or particular artists with the intention of marking the beginning of a new period of creative practice.

The western world experienced a changing period of revolution in thought, technology, and society as the older ways collapsed and paved the way for “modernism.” At the head of social and cultural movement, influencing and reflecting these changes were Artists exploring elements of their craft and personal expression as never before. These modern artists are those who experimented with new ways of seeing, expressing new ideas and methods.

As a result, there were many distinct styles that emerged, each arising from a different part of the changing world, and each reflecting the idea of Modernism in its own way. Modernism rooted in the idea that the “traditional” forms of art had become outdated, and that it was therefore essential to move it aside and embracing the change.

Hence in conclusion, I conclude that function and purpose of architectural designs and styles, the expectations that are placed upon it and the role of the artists or founder are not constant. They vary in different era and level of societies. Only Some distinct projects was the main highlight because they have the ability to portray and communicate more of their era, and they offer inspiration and meaningful meanings across times.



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