Ornament? What is ornament? Ornament is “an accessory, article, or detail used to beautify the appearance of something to which it is added or of which it is a part” This is what dictionary says. But what I found as a sample sentence is more attractive: “a speech more of ornament than of ideas“. So, in an architectural manner, is ornament something which prohibits the main futures of structures? Let’s look for answers through the article Ornament and Crime (Adolf Loof, 1908). 

The text is full of examples intended for needlessness of ornaments. What he is against is the non-modern minds which are sticked to cultural (!) ornamentation. Seems like what leads to this is the fear behind the idea of modernism. To re-new himself, it not as easy as it seems for humankind. “Among ourselves there are unmodern people even in the cities, stragglers from the eighteenth century, who are horrified by a picture with purple shadows because they cannot yet see purple.”  There are more negative statements mentioned continuously. Loof finds out another point to think on. Can ornamentation have an effect on people’s life? He makes it possible! The crime is not only considering buildings, but the health of people: injuries, impacts on the national budget and thereby on cultural enlargement.  “Ornament is wasted labor power and hence wasted health. It has always been s.” If we consider the work on these unnecessary ornamentations there is no doubt that we will end up with the consumption of time for no artistic purposes, toil and money.

However there is point that I do not like on the text about the way he writes. I know that he is trying to do his best to defend his intention but some examples given are too exaggerated or irrelevant with the topic. “…The vegetable he enjoys is simply boiled in water and has a litter butter put on it. The other man likes it equally well only when honey and nuts have been added to it and someone has spent hours cooking it. Ornamented plates are very expensive, whereas the white crockery from which the modern man likes to eat is cheap. …” Does modern man who is against ornament really have to prefer a food without any spice?!  Or Is he really have to purchase all of his plates and staff in the color of white and without any pattern on it? Maybe I am the one who doesn’t understand the state however it sounds absurd. I just wanted to express that I didn’t find the example suitable.

Additionally, the art in architecture is not the ornamentation of repeating what is remained from old times with extravagance but the design on the layout. There could not be a better example to claim: “kaffir” the fruit (with waved outer shell) which has its own rhythm and hierarchy inherently. What kaffir has is not ornamentation since it is a requirement for its existence. So the art is what we have instead of ornamentation, the art which does not belong to a culture which does not contains any utilitarian aims, which is provided by the structure itself.


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