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The Function of Ornament 04/03/11
In August 2010 I realized I had begun to grow dissatisfied with my reading. Rather than let myself fall into a slump, I decided to change direction. My reading had become dictated by whatever I had picked up on a whim at the library and the ARCs I had to agreed to read and review on my blog. With going back to school and realizing I would be having a lot of assigned reading and limited time due to homework, I needed to refocus my reading efforts. I decided I would, to be the best of my efforts, start reading books off my wishlist. With money being tight, that means checking them out from the library or via the Link+ system. In four months time I have crossed 18 books off my list.
One of the earliest books crossed off is The Function of Ornament by Michael Kubo. I believe it was an Amazon recommendation for me when I was ordering some art history and design books in my early days as a web designer. Back in those days there weren't many books specifically written about web design so I found my inspiration instead from other media. Bauhaus principles of design actually work well for web design.
So here I am a decade later and in the process of changing careers (fingers crossed). I have finally sat down to read The Function of Ornament. It's not what I expected but it was interesting nonetheless. The book has two parts: a short, theoretical introduction to why humans build the way they do and why ornamentation remains so popular in architecture. The remainder of the book are graphical examples of design working with function.
Not being an architect myself, the book was visually overwhelming. It ended up reading by first flipping through to just look at all the pretty pictures (and they are lovely!) and the going back to read in depth about the buildings that caught my eye the most.
I can say I am glad to have checked it off my list. I'm sure an architect or architecture student would get far more out of the book than I probably did.