Posted in History n Theory

[HISTORY & THEORY OF DESIGN II] reading comprehension 5

From the Roth, Harwood, and Massey readings, select an ARTIFACT you believe to represent
revolution in design. SPECULATE about the type of revolution this artifact symbolizes. Supplement
your answer with a beautifully hand rendered image of the artifact you selected, citing source and page on your image.

In doing this weeks reading, I came across a chair that I think represents revolution in design.  Taking influences from the Renaissance time period, The Quarta Chair by Mario Botta (1984) found in our Harwood book (page 185) I feel is an interesting interpretation on classical design. Made from Aluminum piping and pvc spacers, this angular design has hints of gothic (angular), art deco (high gloss/flashy materials) and modern industrial design (by its use of metal). With these different style periods found in this one chair design, it portrays an evolution of design from classical to modern.

Quarta Chair Sketch by Audra Volpi

 Using the internet, LOCATE and ANALYZE an image for an ARTIFACT, a SPACE, a BUILDING, and a PLACE, drawing the idea of eastern influences as understood by nineteenth-century minds (China, Japan, India, Middle Eastern) on western design and architecture. Each answer must include an
appropriately annotated and cited image in addition to a well-crafted essay to defend your choice of
each image and the ways (more than one) that the material item responds to design influences from the

This artifact, plastic beads pressed into a wooden form covered in beeswax, is from a group called the Huichol in Western Mexico.   Although this has much Spanish influence by the design of the beads on the parrot, I also found eastern influence.  From our class notes and lecture on 10/28/10, the Western world imitated the eastern world in many ways in the area of decorative arts. The use of vibrant colors, animal and nature captured in objects, fabrics and materials.  The colors of this piece, I feel, portrays the vibrancy in color that the eastern world opened up to us.

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The space I chose that perfectly resembles the eastern influence over western design is the Peacock Room, originally designed by Thomas Jeckyll and then completed by James McNeill Whistler.  From the gold guilding on the wooden panels with painted peacocks and ceiling detail, to the lattice work that forms a sort of cage against the wall to house a porcelain
collection, it is clear to see the influences that the East had in this design come out in the contrasting vibrant colors, use of animals and nature in the paintings as well as material choices.

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The arts and crafts practitioners, in the mid to late 1800’s, started to narrow down and focus on what styles needed to be looked at in more detail.*  (class notes 10/28)  When Frank Lloyd Wright built Robie House, his design portrayed some eastern influence.  From the low lying roof to the angular shaped exterior, to the minimalistic decorative style, this could be interpreted to be highly eastern in nature.

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No place on earth screams Chinese influence more then Chinatown in NYC.  Having grown up in New York, I spent many a night having dinner in this part of town and am fascinated by how much it has grown over the years.
In the mid 1800’s, Chinese traders and sailors began coming to the United States and a small number of them settled in New York.  Now, with an estimated population of over 150,000 crowding these small streets, it has grown considerably in downtown New York City and has communities now growing in Queens County. There are hundreds of restaurants, fruit and fish markets and many bakeries and tourist shops.

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Lover of architectural history, family, building design, coffee and dogs.

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