Category Archives: Craft

Savage Aesthetics

One passage in William Morris’s News from Nowhere (1890) has haunted me since I read it. The protagonist is navigating the Thames river and passes through an old style pound lock and wonders why the centuries old technology is still in use. In this pastoral vision of the future, the answer he’s given is this: ‘You see, […]

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Knowledge and Power

And underneath the flutter leaf The reams of dreams array Melting into make-believe I hear you gently say Oh please let our people say Just how hard they want to play For you know very well Judas is betraying them tomorrow I’ve been thinking about the imagery in this tune for a while. It was […]

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It would be quite easy to imagine our century without carpenters; we would simply use iron furniture. We could just as well without the stonemason; the cement worker would take over his work. But there would be no nineteenth century without the plumber. He has left his mark and become indispensable to us. We think […]

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The Luxury Vehicle

Adolf Loos’s article “The Luxury Vehicle” from Neue Freie Presse, July 3, 1898 begins with an excursus on the joys of driving: “Of course, just driving itself is enough to delight the English. In their hearts and souls, they still have the poetry of the country road” (Spoken into the Void, p. 39). Of course, he’s […]

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Furniture for Sitting

The Otto Wagner room is beautiful not because, but in spite of the fact that it was designed by an architect. For this architect served as his own decorator. This room will not suit any other person because it will not correspond to his personality. It lacks perfection for any second party: thus we may […]

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Interiors in the Rotunda

The engineer for the Vienna Rotunda was J. Scott Russell, who utilized 4,000 tons of iron. Including its topmost crown which was 60 feet tall, its height reached to 284 feet. The diameter of the dome itself was 440 feet, with a circumference of 1,080 feet and peak of 284 feet. Its structure consisted of […]

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The series of newspaper articles by Adolf Loos I’ve been excerpting were written on the occasion of the 1898 Vienna Jubilee Exposition. International expositions (which this one isn’t really listed as, it’s more of a national expo) are a central organizing locus to major changes in domestic design. Bill Bryson, for example, uses the Crystal […]

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Interiors: A Prelude

The carpenters have displayed their products to the right and to the left of the silver courtyard. Stalls were constructed and model rooms were built for them. This is how it has been done for years at every exhibition. Thus the carpenters say to their clients: This is how you should live! The poor client! […]

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The New Style and the Bronze Industry

But does the crafts industry itself not know what it’s best products are? Oh no. It knows as little about its own production as the poet, the painter, in fact any artist at all can know about his own art. Such an artist will always value most highly those products of his muse which have […]

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This book contains the essays I wrote up to and during the year 1900. They were written at a time when I had a thousand things to think about. For didactic reasons I had to express my true opinions in sentences that years later still cause me to shudder when I read them. Only at […]

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