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Author Topic: Victorian Design  (Read 1282 times)
Prof Marvel
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United States United States


learn from history, or be doomed to repeat it


« on: April 09, 2017, 02:38:11 am »

I thought I would start a new thread discussong Victorian Design, and "why" - for example "why" was the sewage pumping station so ornate,
"https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/38/5a/a8/385aa80ba2000aad3fbf1b5b79518840.jpg"

and "why" so much detail design cast into those beautiful bronze hinges?


My thought, rather calling it "quality" as in the other thread, is that the maker was trying to express "art and beauty" into everyday work!

to start, Victorian period may best be known for "bric-a-brac", but there's more....

Wikipedia describes it as
"Victorian design is widely viewed as having indulged in a grand excess of ornament. The Victorian era is known for its interpretation and eclectic revival of historic styles mixed with the introduction of middle east and Asian influences in furniture, fittings, and interior decoration. The Arts and Crafts movement, the aesthetic movement, Anglo-Japanese style, and Art Nouveau style have their beginnings in the late Victorian era and gothic period."

The Victorian Era covered 3 distinct styles
- Gothic Revival dominated the early part of the era, (colors were mainly earth-tones).
- Romanticism was favored in the middle period , ( industrial revolution offered more colors and was at times even gaudy)
- Arts and Crafts came near the end of the era

At the time, Ornamentation was lauded , even by Parliament, which established a committee in 1835
( revisited in 1837, 1847 and 1849) "to inquire into the best means of extending a knowledge of the arts and
of principles of design among the people (especially the manufacturing population) of the country"

This resulted in establishing the "Normal School of Design" at Somerset house (1837)

As exploration and colonial expansion went on more nearby styles ( such as Celtic) and foreign styles were brought in, especially East and Far East: Assyrian, Egyptian, Byzantine,  and Turkish.

labor was not yet too pricey and the industrial revolution brought affordable mass-produced decoration such as embossed tin and wallpaper, stencils, and ready-made paint in a variety of colors.

however candles and coal ruled in the interior spaces, and these textured
ornamentation attracted soot and dirt thus dark colors were used to masked it, and eventually
the "clean/sterile" movement came to rule literally due health reasons. textures attracted dirt, mold and bacteria!

from here http://study.com/academy/lesson/victorian-interior-design-style-elements.html
we see many examples and read:
"William Morris was one of the most influential designers during the Victorian Era. His designs for wallpapers, encaustic tiles and fabrics were inspired by Medieval and Gothic tapestries. Fruits, wreaths, florals and animals dominated his designs. The structured elements he used inspired many other artists, leading to the mass production of wallpapers with similar style, theme and balance. His works are still produced today"

nowadays, the "craftsman", "clean lines", shaker, minimalist, japanese, and danish movements are predominant,
sometimes due to cost and sometimes due to pure asthetics ( ie "uncluttered" vs "busy/noisy" )
 
However, even now, the ascetics of a well made curve & etc are both unmistakable and desireable such as these
repurposed tools stands:

from the more simplistic


to the more ornate



Your thoughts, comments, and opinions are gratefully solicited...

yhs
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« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2017, 10:25:55 am »

Osborne House Indian Room
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James Harrison
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« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2017, 12:29:39 pm »

People today tend to forget that it is only comparatively recently that art and design has branched out into different specialisms and professions.  I'm sure Ruskin would do very well today if he were to presume, as a painting tutor and art critic, to try to dictate architectural and sculptural style (more likely he'd be laughed out of the room and then himself criticised for lecturing on something he knew nothing about- nothing, of course, in contrast to those who'd studied the field, gained degrees and academic acolades in it, and actually earned a living from it). 

Morris, before he became a designer and manufacturer of internal decor, tried his hand at architecture.  Pugin, before he became an architect, ran a small furniture business.
When Benjamin Woodward was designing the Debating Hall at Oxford University in the 1850s, the Pre-Raphaelite group (Rossetti, Millais, Hunt, Burne-Jones, Morris et al) were invited to paint murals on the ceilings, Ruskin having a hand not only in that piece of decor but in the design of the building overall.  You don't get that sort of inter-field cooperation any more, and it shows. 

You can't, as such, adequately discuss single facets of Victorian design, because Victorian art and design was so inter-connected between the fields of architecture, painting, sculpture, stained glass, furniture, wallpaper etc etc etc and it was very common and perhaps even expected that a participant in one aspect could and would turn their hand, succesfully, to another- if you can paint, you can draw. If you can draw, you can learn technical drafting.  If you can do technical drawing the skills are transferable between designing a whole cathedral and designing just the stained glass for it.  It's not surprising that everything resembled a piece of art, if everything was designed by artists.   
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Prof Marvel
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learn from history, or be doomed to repeat it


« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2017, 07:52:35 pm »


When Benjamin Woodward was designing the Debating Hall at Oxford University in the 1850s, the Pre-Raphaelite group (Rossetti, Millais, Hunt, Burne-Jones, Morris et al) were invited to paint murals on the ceilings, Ruskin having a hand not only in that piece of decor but in the design of the building overall.  You don't get that sort of inter-field cooperation any more, and it shows. 

THIS ^^^^^^

Quote
You can't, as such, adequately discuss single facets of Victorian design, because Victorian art and design was so inter-connected between the fields of architecture, painting, sculpture, stained glass, furniture, wallpaper etc etc etc and it was very common and perhaps even expected that a participant in one aspect could and would turn their hand, succesfully, to another- if you can paint, you can draw. If you can draw, you can learn technical drafting.  If you can do technical drawing the skills are transferable between designing a whole cathedral and designing just the stained glass for it.  It's not surprising that everything resembled a piece of art, if everything was designed by artists.   

AND THIS ^^^^^^

Very seldom are artists involved in design these days! and it shows! most modern buildings, and almost all modern interiors are ...
just bland.  The Art Deco, Prarie Style, and Frank Lloyd Wright ( aka FLW) styles are the last really interesting things I can think of.... and FLW suffers from the combination of " OMG HE's A Saint" and ... well... utter failures in practicality . FLW's early "Prarie Style" houses
are beautiful! But his furniture sucks!

Almost all of FLW's furniture is uncomfortable beyond belief. If you DARE to put seat cushions on the chairs the FLW fascists will have you publicly flogged.

FLW as a tyrant:
"Frank Lloyd Wright is notorious for chairs that are uncomfortable."

 "many of the original owners back in Wright’s day eventually jettisoned his difficult furniture because it was so unfriendly to ordinary human usage."

 "minimalist storage was another of his hallmarks, in a bid to limit people's "stuff." "

"Essentially, Wright wanted to control how his clients lived: he served as architect, designer and lifestyle adviser all in one.... occupants had little opportunity to alter the home's personality. "


Several of his designs, while beautiful, and cutting edge were epic fails:

- the "FallingWater"House"  -- in an article from Preservation magazine called “Holding Up Fallingwater” discussed
                        - the structural rehabbing of the terraces and framework   
                        - The lower concrete terrace sagged from level by as much as 7 inches
                        - water leaks in the roof seams, window seals and skylights.
                        - continual water damage that wrought cracking walls, peeling paint, warping doors, black mold, and rotting artworks.

- SC Johnson Administration Building    https://tinyurl.com/FLW-SCJ-Admin
          The Great Workroom in the center of the building has been likened to a forest with a canopy of trees, formed by the dramatic
          slender dendriform or mushroom-shaped columns, with workers desks planted amongst them.
It was plagued with 
- too much ambient noise
- leaking roof, no flashing, no seals on the 47 miles of Pyrex-glass tube clerestory windows, which are in bands around the building
- woefully inadequate lighting for a workspace
- lack of wiring for essentials like electrical outlets and telephones!
- H. F. Johnson, Jr., the company president who hired Wright during the Great Depression, fretted about the construction delays and
         cost-overruns. Wright assured him that the extra dollars would be more than offset by the attention the building would bring.

The water leaks began as soon as the building opened, and have not been really fixed until an effort in 2010:
2010 -A major project is to repair the leaks, improve the quality of light, improve the building's energy efficiency.
     -workmen on the roof replace brick parapets, install copper flashing - the first flashing ever on the roof , and caulking

A 1989 article said:
“Leaks are a given in any Wright house. Indeed, the architect has been notorious not only for his leaks but his flippant dismissals of clients’ complaint.  FLWreportedly replied:  ‘If the roof doesn’t leak, the architect hasn’t been creative enough.’”

My point here being - ART is essential in architecture, but so is a working knowledge of construction an materials!

But Where Oh where is the ART hese days?
 
yhs
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« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2017, 07:59:39 pm »

Sadly I think a lot of it is simply down to the lifetime of the product. You're not going to be making a fancy TV-cabinet if the TV will be replaced 4 years later.
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« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2017, 02:01:37 am »

You think that's a hinge.  I'll raise the bar:-

I think that most of what's been said is from entirely the wrong viewpoint.  Sorry.

Compare your hinge to mine.  I don't know what the carved one costs (these days a lot I'm guessing) but mine is £10.49 at Screwfix.  The little review next to it scores 4/5 stars so not bad.  Screwfix is one of the most popular trade suppliers in the country and very successful with £1B sales last year.  These details are important so please bear with me.

Artisans and designers exist and thrive, but have never built anything in their lives.  (Clearly I'm generalising and accept that individuals /SMEs exist producing fine goods.)  You are referring to them as if they control the look of the thing.  No.  The appearance of the thing is driven by the commissioning authority, such as a public body (council) or private institution (you perhaps).   I'm going to focus on you, not because I'm being mean  Wink but because that will get you to see my point of view.

The control comes from the budget holder.  Suggestions and dreams come from the artists.  Imagine if all the doors on your house fell off and needed new hinges.  Which hinges would you buy? Think carefully and you'll understand the why of your question. You'll buy Screwfix, right?  You don't attribute enough desire for the ornate hinges, you'll do with plain.  And Screwfix are there to sell it to you.  And this is what they sell to most people throughout the lands.

Your hinge has nothing whatsoever to do with quality.  It's also nothing to do with art.  It's market economics and changing customer values.  Simple supply and demand, and no one (other than a few Steampunkers) wants to direct money towards patterned hinges even though mean disposable incomes have vastly increased from the Victorian era.  We're rich now comparatively, yet you choose the plain hinge.  I bet though that you have an expensive mobile phone, probably on a contract.  Why, and why not spend that money on a custom set of iron railings for your garden made locally by a blacksmith?  They still exist too.

The suppliers (artists, designers and engineers) will always meet the demands of the customers (you).  You can't blame them if you don't like it ornate any more.  Labour costs may be an important factor in launching a thing, but if there was a demand for ornate things the suppliers would meet it.  Someone mentioned fancy TV-cabinets and said that you wouldn't make one if the telly was quickly replaced.  No, fancy TV cabinets would be for sale everywhere if customers wanted them, probably at Screwfix too.  They don't, yet are happy to pay £50 /month for a phone that will be replaced every year.  The why isn't because of  the designers,  it's because of you.  I think that perhaps you start yet another thread asking why do we not want ornate things any more?




-------------------------------------
If you actually chose the ornate hinges, I'm stuffed.
This is not an advert for Screwfix.
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Banfili
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« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2017, 01:13:24 pm »

cossoft, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with your hinge. In fact, it is minimalist design and functionality at it's best, well, second best!
But, and it's a big, personal but, not everyone is a fan of minimalism, sometimes people just want something with a bit more character and pizzazz! And only it's designer would think your hinge has pizzazz, or any character to speak of!  Grin
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cossoft
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« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2017, 02:41:35 pm »

My hinge is crap.  But.  Which hinge would you buy to replace all the ones in your house?  Be honest with yourself.  That's the point I was making.  It's not the designer's choice what he makes if you consider market forces.  It's a form of economic Darwinism.  You need to address this thread through the prism of the customer. Unfortunately (some say), we live in a capitalistic society and this is how it works.  So far this world has not seen a successful communist country, but let me tell you that they don't like pretentiousness.  There are exceptions for luxury goods (like Steampunk lamps which are common and expensive), but for commodity items the suppliers have very little discretion. 

Another example.  Try to launch a new range of these because you have  a young flamboyant Steampunk designer:-



If you've ever seen one of these run, there're incredibly smooth. The mechanics are beautiful.   And impossible to sell new.  The double insulation requirements will transform your design to all plastic.  And it doesn't do button holes or self thread the needle.  The mainstream doesn't want it and you'll go bust trying to compete with a computerised plastic Singer.

Society has changed.  We attribute value to other things now.  Isn't the iPhone desirable?  And isn't next year's even more so?  How can we now justify brass over plastic when the cost savings will buy another few doctors or a shed load of CCTV cameras?  Victorians had ornate toilets but never left the country.  Now we all love to puke in Spanish resorts rather than invest in porcelain.  You the customer has changed.  Art remains.

Note.  It is entirely possible that IKEA will soon be selling these hinges as there are other threads herein telling of Steampunk going mainstream.  I believe this to be true.  Then suppliers will emerge to fill the demand, especially as there are minimal barriers to entry.  I look forward to that.
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James Harrison
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« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2017, 07:33:56 pm »

It's an interesting point to ask where functionality trumps appearances.  In a former academic life I was training to be an architect; one of the things I took away from lectures is that buildings such as houses have a functional aspect (keeping you warm and dry) and an aesthetic one (you could keep yourself warm and dry in a shipping container, and it's because we have higher aesthetic expectations that we don't). 

Split that further down to individual rooms and again you have a functional aspect and an aesthetic one.  A good example would be a bathroom.  Now I could design the world's most palatial water closet, but if the pipes don't run anywhere and the..... urgh..... effluent backs up and pours all over the floor, well, it goes into the 'looks good but doesn't work' category, doesn't it?

But at some point we have collectively decided that if something is to be functional everything else has to be subserviant to that functionality.  Which is fair enough but at some point we have further decided that we should have nothing beautiful that is not functional (I think it rather telling that that saying is attributed to one of the great Modernist masters of the 1920s and 1930s- I forget if it was Corbusier or Van der Rohe- and that since Modernism went out of fashion we simply haven't had a proper, identifiable, new design school of thought come to the fore.  Rather we've had a confused pottage of neo-historical, post-Modern and just plain nondescript).  So currently our most cutting-edge design thought and ethos is the better part of a century old....

Now you might be asking yourself how all this pertains to the artisan vs Screwfix hinge discussion.  Simply consider this.  In a purely functional room, such as the bathroom, you'd go for the one which is functional, works reliably, can be bought for a price and replaced for that same price, doesn't put up any fuss, can be fitted or removed by anybody and is just exactly what is needed for the job and no more.  But anybody with design or aesthetic nous would expect something more in an aesthetic room, might be prepared for a price premium, a bit of hassle in fitting and getting it to work, maybe it might need replacing more often and in so doing you might need to get somebody especially to do it for you...

The question is though, where does the boundary lie between the two?

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Prof Marvel
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« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2017, 09:21:36 am »

Greetings My Daer Netizens!

Ah this is GREAT! I love me a good lively discussion!
And it made me go look for even *more* brass/bronze hinge suppliers....

>> I think that most of what's been said is from entirely the wrong viewpoint.  Sorry.

No need to appologize, you are entitled to your opinion! Which appears to be
                        Functional and "cheap" trumps "beautiful"
That is a valid point, and a common point of view. One of the earlier designers in post 1900 said "form follows function"
which I believe has led to "plain and ugly".

In many cases, limits of economy dictate what one can afford to have.

>> Compare your hinge to mine.  I don't know what the carved one costs (these days a lot I'm guessing)
>> but mine is £10.49 at Screwfix.

I will trump your hinge with what I have in my house now:

Everbilt 3-1/2 in. x 1/4 in. Radius Satin Nickel Door Hinge
    Solid steel with satin nickel finish  at ONLY $2.78 /each

perhaps we can start a business smuggling cheap hinges into the UK ?

I used to take my German Boss ( based in Walldorf) to Home Depot and Costco on his business visits to the US and he would fill his
suitcases with  hardware,  bluejeans, vitamins, and aspirin that cost him 1/4 what he had to pay in Germany.
He returned the favor by bringing me 20 boxes of Wicks Daymed and OTC cold remedy that still has phenylpropynolamine hydrochloride .
It is a safe and effective decongestant that works on me without giving me migraines, but has been discontinued in the US  :-(


>> The suppliers (artists, designers and engineers) will always meet the demands of the customers (you).
>> You can't blame them if you don't like it ornate any more.

And that is one beautiful thing of the globalized trade: costs *have* come down dramatically.
and we are now able to ship things economically around the globe.

our house came with these doors and the above hinges when we moved in ~ 10 years ago:

30 in. x 80 in. Textured 6-Panel Primed Composite Molded Bored Interior Door Slab   $37.44 /each

So that's $45.78 per door. Pretty economical, altho I *could* get cheaper and definitely ugly.
They are entirely functional, and whilst not beautiful, they are slightly flimsy and plain.

from our local Big Box Store, I am sourcing the following
this door for $135


or this door for $110


and these hinges  at the incredible price of only $12 a pop! or $36 per door. your choice of color & pattern




they are steel with a plated brass, bronze, or nickle finish

So, I am in the process of replacing the "plain" doors and hinges with "beautiful and artistic" doors and hinges.
At ~ $150 a pop.

At the same time I am replacing the plain white "commodity" trim around the doors and on the walls along the floor with 1x4 spruce boards that I am  profiling myself on my router in a simple "craftsman style" pattern.

>> Imagine if all the doors on your house fell off and needed new hinges.  Which hinges would you buy?
>> Think carefully and you'll understand the why of your question. You'll buy Screwfix, right?

Wrong. I can repair Any door in the house with lumber, locks, hinges, and knobs I have on hand in my boxes
of "saved crap".  FYI, I save everything!
In fact I have 2 dozen of the above stainless hinges (bought in a box at a thrift store) on hand for various projects. Said projects include
workshop doors and hinged "swing away/up" work tables.

You are correct that it is a matter of choice, on what we spend our disposable incomes.

>>  I bet though that you have an expensive mobile phone, probably on a contract...that will be replaced every year.

Contrary to your speculation, My lovely Spousal Unit and I do not have I-phones, we have cheap paid-for LG smartphones,
at less than $50 a pop . They are not on expensive contracts, they are on the cheapest "pay by the month" plan I can find that still
gives unlimited minutes and excellent nationwide coverage, but without *any* internet or audio/video unless we connect to a local WIFI.
I *really* don'r need or want to watch TV on my phone.

My last motorola phone lasted over 5 years. It actually died. The phone *it* replaced also lasted over five years, but would
no longer hold a charge, and the motorola was cheaper than a new battery!

By now you are probably getting the message that I am a cheap barstich frugal type. Yes and no. I like to buy quality,
but learned early on not to buy the "latest and greatest bleeding edge technology".  I like to see what "the market" shakes out
and I did not get stuck with Beta during the  VHS vs Betamax wars.
And I shop hard for bargains.

>>  The why isn't because of  the designers,  it's because of you.  I think that perhaps you start yet another
>>  thread asking why do we not want ornate things any more?

Actually that's what this thread is about. I *do* want the "quiet, tastefully ornate" objects that will actually last 20 years
and am willing to pay for them. I believe there are many people on Brass Goggles that agree!
In fact I regularly go to second hand stores, thrift stores, and pawn shops to find and buy (cheaply) and restore older quality tools
(like 1925 Stanley Steel Body Woodplanes) rather than buy cheap chinese disposable tools.

I also periodically luck out and get inexpensive quality garments from Estate Sales ( ie  - people die and their heirs sell everything off)

>>Society has changed.  

I Agree! and I contend it is through the Mass Brainwashing of the Advertising Business.

>> We attribute value to other things now.  

Some do. Many, (less vocal folk) do not.

>> Isn't the iPhone desirable?  And isn't next year's even more so?

Not to me.

>> If you actually chose the ornate hinges, I'm stuffed.

No, Sir, just mistaken. Our opinions are often formeed on on own experiences and most likely based on the experience of watching the habits of the Great Unwashed Public.


yhs
prof (artistic) marvel
« Last Edit: April 14, 2017, 09:41:14 pm by Prof Marvel » Logged
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« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2017, 01:00:57 pm »

You think that's a hinge.  I'll raise the bar:-

I think that most of what's been said is from entirely the wrong viewpoint.  Sorry.

Compare your hinge to mine.  I don't know what the carved one costs (these days a lot I'm guessing) but mine is £10.49 at Screwfix.  The little review next to it scores 4/5 stars so not bad.  Screwfix is one of the most popular trade suppliers in the country and very successful with £1B sales last year.  These details are important so please bear with me.

Artisans and designers exist and thrive, but have never built anything in their lives.  (Clearly I'm generalising and accept that individuals /SMEs exist producing fine goods.)  You are referring to them as if they control the look of the thing.  No.  The appearance of the thing is driven by the commissioning authority, such as a public body (council) or private institution (you perhaps).   I'm going to focus on you, not because I'm being mean  Wink but because that will get you to see my point of view.

The control comes from the budget holder.  Suggestions and dreams come from the artists.  Imagine if all the doors on your house fell off and needed new hinges.  Which hinges would you buy? Think carefully and you'll understand the why of your question. You'll buy Screwfix, right?  You don't attribute enough desire for the ornate hinges, you'll do with plain.  And Screwfix are there to sell it to you.  And this is what they sell to most people throughout the lands.

Your hinge has nothing whatsoever to do with quality.  It's also nothing to do with art.  It's market economics and changing customer values.  Simple supply and demand, and no one (other than a few Steampunkers) wants to direct money towards patterned hinges even though mean disposable incomes have vastly increased from the Victorian era.  We're rich now comparatively, yet you choose the plain hinge.  I bet though that you have an expensive mobile phone, probably on a contract.  Why, and why not spend that money on a custom set of iron railings for your garden made locally by a blacksmith?  They still exist too.

The suppliers (artists, designers and engineers) will always meet the demands of the customers (you).  You can't blame them if you don't like it ornate any more.  Labour costs may be an important factor in launching a thing, but if there was a demand for ornate things the suppliers would meet it.  Someone mentioned fancy TV-cabinets and said that you wouldn't make one if the telly was quickly replaced.  No, fancy TV cabinets would be for sale everywhere if customers wanted them, probably at Screwfix too.  They don't, yet are happy to pay £50 /month for a phone that will be replaced every year.  The why isn't because of  the designers,  it's because of you.  I think that perhaps you start yet another thread asking why do we not want ornate things any more?




-------------------------------------
If you actually chose the ornate hinges, I'm stuffed.
This is not an advert for Screwfix.


Spoken as somebody who has never been involved in the multi-million dollar private residence industry. You would not believe the things I saw and better yet, the things my family's company MADE for people who lived in brand new $5 million homes, and the extremes they’d go - the extra mile - for a little beauty covering the home appliances. The money enabling came from the Post Dell Computer's boom in Austin in the late late 1990s and early 2000s.

This (pictures below) is the business my late grandfather started and in which I participated while I was attending college - in what seems to me to be a past life. I was greatly hurt financially and I literally lost everything I had when this business collapsed during the market bubble burst of 2007-8 (my grandfather's mental and physical health also collapsed at that time and marked the onset of dementia during his final years). Yet I know first hand that the people who designed and built these things were artists. From the architect, right down to the Mexican artists holding the hammer and chisel or the buttons to the CAM apparatus. Believe it or not, there are artists out there WHO BUILD STUFF.







I will agree, however, that it all boils down to money. The more you have, the more you can indulge your aesthetic inner self. Life privileges for the 21st C. middle class DOES NOT include these luxuries.

Fancy hinges? You got it. Fancy door hardware? You got it. Fancy cabinets? You got it. The memsahib demands that the husband's $20000 entertainment system be hidden from view. Preferably with hand carved mahogany, and ornate forged iron hardware. Don't spare hidden walls, electrical elevators and the like to hide that ugly 60-inch flat panel TV.

Fireplace? Shure, why not? Just drop $15000 for a whole wall hand carved stone fireplace with hidden cabinets for televisions doubling as framed artwork and the like.

Trust me. the demand for ornate hardware is there - you just can't afford it, and you can't get it at your local B&Q, Lowe's, or Home Depot.

You have to get yourself a fancy general contractor, who will show you a portfolio of special hardware, pay an architect to design not just your house with said hardware and appliances, but design your cabinets as well (since they will be custom made), possibly hire a troop of decorators (more catalogues to see), then hire someone like my grandfather who would design the exterior and interior stone facade, columns, mouldings, and fireplace of the house (more portfolios to see), wait for all of it to be manufactured outside of the country (hand carved + cad/cam in plants across the border), and finally you need to spare about a year of your life to see the whole project finished (I'm assuming you'd have the cash to drop - if not back in the days we'd take American Express Black Card - but noting the spending limit per transaction is $99000 for the black card - the last deposit someone gave me was $150000 and I had to make two separate charges on said card).

In other words, there is strong income difference between the people who can afford the beautiful details on the hardware and the people who buy zinc-plated hinges at B&Q. After all, what could be more Victorian than a little class disparity  Wink



J. W.
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« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2017, 02:48:04 pm »

Cossoft is asking a good question.  Why.  Why do we choose the simple door hinge.

The problem is, there's 2 groups of people to answer.  If you ask "everybody", then the answer is as he says, they choose the $10 hinge.

But he's not asking "everybody", he's on a steampunk forum.  People like US, are asking, why can't I get a fancy hinge?  Or Can I take that simple hinge, put it on an engraving machine or CNC and make it fancy?

We are the demographic who want fancy, and if we can't afford it, we'll make it ourselves.
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« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2017, 06:43:39 pm »

Alright, but I don't think that "everybody" will choose the simple hinge. My attempt above to explain that was that a least a niche group of the general (non Steampunk) public will still choose ornateness at the industrial level (architectural industry).

And I agree with Mr. Cossoft that supply and demand rule - my point is just a correction on the assumption that there is no market for ornateness.

On the other hand most Steampunks don't belong to the affluent class. And like Mr. K. Locke points out, we circumvent the apparent lack of availability - which I'd argue is not a complete lack thereof - and counter the cost of that which is available - by doing the manual labour ourselves, as makers.

But I've noticed that the architecture of homes is somewhat different between the UK and the US, and the latter two are significantly different between English and Non-English speaking countries.


Which brings me to my next point: culture.

I have written several times on Steampunk being a type of Industrial Age folklore. It is precisely the English speaking communities of the world, where the industrial revolution took place first. And it is in the 19th C that the onset of the Romantic style in art coincides with the industrial revolution.

What I see in Latin America for example based on my 17 years down there, is that construction is masonry based, with a heavy emphasis on contemporary ("modern") architecture. Even for the houses of affluent people.

Americans may not be aware of this, but the first impression I got as a child visiting the US in the 70s and 80s, was how "traditional" the architectural style was. Old fashioned to my mind's eye, to be honest.

Hidden in the styles of doors, roofs, and even sofits, is the ghost of Victorian architecture. And that's when it dawned on me that this was a cultural phenomenon. In contrast, Latin American architecture in my childhood either tended toward the Baroque style (their colonial period), or whatever "futuristic" or  "21st Century" architecture seemed to look like back on the 70s and 80s. Either Baroque masterpieces or cubical ultra modern, no wooden sofits, no "v" shaped roofs, no wooden siding, anywhere at any level of society. Architecture is also a cultural phenomenon.

Your perception of style may very well be coloured by your culture.
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« Reply #13 on: April 14, 2017, 10:00:53 pm »

My Dear J -

yes, there is a huge gap between the "filthy rich" and the rest of us.

However, as I noted above, due to market economies, the proletariate can afford certain modest incremental improvements such as
the hinge now available from Home Depot for $12


That is a huge improvement over the cost from one of the architectural hardware stores of ~ $60 per hinge, and is thus driving my
" one at a time door improvemement program" .

If I had more energy, I could build the doors myself, but I'ld like to install & use them before I die ....

Another example is steel roofing that looks just like clay tile roofs, but at about 1/2 the price, and 1/8 the weight, without needing to re-inforce the roof for weight:


Thus, I still contend , it is a matter of Choosing some art over "dirt cheap functional"

it is also entirely possible that the new cgi and holographic VR may turn everything the common man has into plain surfaces that the VR can
be projected upon... rather like an extreme " trompe l'oeil "

PLease Continue the discussion folks!

yhs
prof marvel
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« Reply #14 on: April 15, 2017, 02:18:05 pm »

Hot damn steam!
Going to have to get me some of those HD hinges, thank you!!
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« Reply #15 on: May 13, 2017, 04:20:11 pm »

A little neurotic, pedantic interjection, if I may.

I'd advise that one be careful to either
1. use more hinges that one normally would, or
2. make sure that the hinges that one uses that are so highly carved, cast or detailed are thicker than normal. That much deep-relief decoration would probably weaken the leaves (the big, broad plates that one screws down to door and doorjamb) of an ordinarily-sized door hinge.

This has been a public-service neurotic pedantry interjection. We now return you to your regularly-scheduled thread.
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« Reply #16 on: May 14, 2017, 02:17:31 am »

Point well taken, MW - one does not need the hinges on the front door of one's lair home coming adrift at the wrong moment!
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« Reply #17 on: May 14, 2017, 11:49:12 pm »

Now, now. This conversation is starting to get at tad unhinged! I know that people's tastes will swing in either direction! Let's not rotate the same arguments over and over!
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« Reply #18 on: May 22, 2017, 07:58:50 am »

Either we will all swing together, or we shall swing separately!

And put those tomatoes down!
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« Reply #19 on: May 22, 2017, 08:23:01 am »

Well, I don't think that the people in this joint would waste the tomatoes like that. Tomatoes are the pivot of good nutrition.
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« Reply #20 on: May 22, 2017, 08:51:19 am »

Well, I don't think that the people in this joint would waste the tomatoes like that. Tomatoes are the pivot of good nutrition.
Not to twist the topic, but modern tomatoes have a quarter the nutrition they did 50 years ago, and are sturdier than a door post. They're really only good for throwing.
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« Reply #21 on: May 22, 2017, 09:34:39 am »

Well, I don't think that the people in this joint would waste the tomatoes like that. Tomatoes are the pivot of good nutrition.
Not to twist the topic, but modern tomatoes have a quarter the nutrition they did 50 years ago, and are sturdier than a door post. They're really only good for throwing.



Uh oh...
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« Reply #22 on: May 22, 2017, 09:41:37 am »

Well, I don't think that the people in this joint would waste the tomatoes like that. Tomatoes are the pivot of good nutrition.
Not to twist the topic, but modern tomatoes have a quarter the nutrition they did 50 years ago, and are sturdier than a door post. They're really only good for throwing.

That's a squeaky argument and carries no moment. You can always supplement your diet with oil.
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« Reply #23 on: May 22, 2017, 02:34:29 pm »

You can blame the sturdiness of tomatoes on transport. Years ago on the farm we got a seed catalogue extolling the virtue of these 'new' tomatoes that 'transported very well'. The picture showed a huge rock sitting on three ripe tomatoes without squashing them. Testament indeed to the firmness of of the fruit.  Theses were good tomatoes - good and firm - their properties perfect for pelting at politicians. Politicians only, not suitable for throwing at proper humans.

We have a 1980s house which we are in the process of putting some craftsmanship into. I think the 1980s was one of the lowest architectural points in time. Everything about the house was mean. Cheap, low skirting boards. Flat featureless thin architraves and flat doors, plain aluminum sliding windows. No craftsmanship, no decoration, no charm. Not one extra bit of brick or timber was 'wasted' on anything that might be considered an embellishment. And it was beige - beige walls, beige carpet, beige floor tiles and beige kitchen cupboards. Our ensiute even had a beige hand basin and matching beige toilet. It was the furthest point from Victorian architecture that a house could possibly be.

However, I am not fond of the full-on Victorian architecture or interior design. It can be a little overwhelming. Thankfully we are in a time where we can choose the best of it and omit the worst of it. As for hinges, sometimes we need to see them as a feature, and sometimes we don't. Either way, the hinges with the more craftsmanship in them will last the longest.

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« Reply #24 on: July 26, 2017, 10:10:56 am »

How can you say that Victorian design is over the top...


« Last Edit: July 26, 2017, 10:14:10 am by yereverluvinunclebert » Logged

Lightquick - Steampunk Widgets and Icons of Some Worldwide Repute
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