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Ornament and Crime: Selected Essays

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  371 ratings  ·  16 reviews
Contains thirty-six original essays by the celebrated Viennese architect, Adolf Loos (1870-1933). Most deal with questions of design in a wide range of areas, from architecture and furniture, to clothes and jewellery, pottery, plumbing, and printing; others are polemics on craft education and training, and on design in general. Loos, the great cultural reformer and moralis ...more
Paperback, (Studies in Austrian Literature, Culture, and Thought Translation Series), 204 pages
Published September 1st 1997 by Ariadne Press
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Apr 02, 2013 rated it did not like it
I am not a fan of Loos, like, at all. I think he takes rationalism and functionality in architecture too far. Also, I call bullshit on his explanation for the contradiction of his sterile exteriors yet sumptuous interiors in his 1910 essay entitled "Architecture." You can't proclaim to the world that "Ornament does not heighten my joy in life or the joy in life of any cultivated person" and then lavishly decorate the interior of your home like you're fucking George IV. Just saying.

(Sorry about t
Janis Godins
Apr 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"Ornament is wasted manpower and therefore wasted health. It has always been like this. But today it also means wasted material, and both mean wasted capital. As ornament is no longer organically related to our culture, it is also no longer the expression of our culture. The ornament that is produced today bears no relation to us, or to any other human or the world at large. It has no potential for development." ...more
Michael Bohli
Adolf Loos – er lebte und kreierte als Architekt nicht nur in einer Zeit, in der man mit dem Bau von Gebäuden noch waschechte Skandale entstehen lassen konnte, er war auch ein extremer Kritiker. Nicht nur stellte er sich gegen die Oberschichten und die Gebaren der Aristokratie, er sah sich selber auch an der Spitze der Wiener Bau- und Designkunst. "Ornament und Verbrechen" ist eine Sammlung seiner besten und angriffigsten Texten, ursprünglich zwischen 1898 und 1931 publiziert und bietet einen gu ...more
Ellis Donovan
Oct 22, 2018 rated it did not like it
man is so racist
Corrie Allison
Apr 26, 2017 rated it it was ok
I like ornament you silly racist.
Jan 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't understand why Masheck spent a good chunk of his epilogue, which in turn is a good chunk of the book (equivalent to several of Loos's actual essays), defending Loos as Not-A-Racist, instead of simply acknowledging that some of his views on race and evolutionary development are dated and did not age well. ...more
Mar 06, 2021 rated it liked it
A collection of essays that are humourous, sarcastic and over the top on the aesthetic value of things around us (mostly fashion). These should be regarded as a product of its times, with outdated beliefs such (Darwinian) cultural evolution and gendered roles in the household. He appears to be speaking to a class of aristocrats, in highly curated museum shows, himself a renowned architect of the times - so do take note on the warped perspective this text do reflect. I first read the “keynote” Or ...more
Jan 04, 2021 added it
Loos was a funny and sarcastic old man.
Nije mu bilo lako na samom početku 20. stoljeća gledati u tolike ukrase i boriti se s ornamentalnim vjetrenjačama.
Eseji donose uvid u razdoblje kada se opće prihvaćeni modernizam tek nazirao, doba kada su ostaci nekadašnjih života još držali prevlast, mada je novo doba već stiglo. Bečom tako šeću gospoda u ručno izrađenim cipelama, naručuju izrezbarene ormare, ukrašavaju keramiku, a Adolf to ne može podnijeti. Pita se: Čemu toliko traćenja vremena (a time
Apr 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: art
A collection of essays on art and architecture which redeemed for me by the caustic wit of the writer. There is a touch of Nietszche and a little Karl Kraus in these essays. I was particularly taken with his comments about tattoos and tattooing, since when I was young, only criminals and sailors sported tattoos.

This is an enjoyable collection, I thoroughly enjoyed Joseph Mashek's epilogue, the notes are detailed, and there is a useful bibliography. A worthy effort.
Sep 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Nov 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: architecture
Adolf Loos. He faced a cultural crisis and we owe so much to him. His way of shaping interior spaces giving every section of a house its own hierarchy, and reinforcing diagonal circulations both in plan as well as in cross section. His raumplan would later evolve into free plan, as master architect Le Corbusier would be inspired by Loos' ideals and this would show in his Vers une architecture, but that's subject of a different review.

We also have to credit Loos for stating clearer than anyone w
Sep 15, 2015 marked it as to-keep-reference
En su manifiesto de 1908 a favor de la modernidad, Ornament and Crime, Adolf
Loos deducía del axioma «la forma sigue a la función» la exigencia de «eliminar el ornamento»: «La evolución de la cultura va acompañada por la eliminación del ornamento de objetos inútiles». Para Loos, los ornamentos eran «inmorales» y «degenerados », por lo que su supresión era necesaria para regular la sociedad moderna. Resulta interesante que pusiera como ejemplo el tatuaje de los papúes; Loos consideraba que los pap
May 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Many wry and witty pronouncements, most dating from 1898, in support of simple, modern design. Loos felt popular tastes were strongly in favor of new, forward-looking styles, and that consumers no longer sought kitsch, quaint nationalist references, or absurd imitations of Hellenic, Renaissance, or Japanese relics. Very pleasurable to consider such a time in Vienna, however brief! The biographical details (many wives, a pitiful decline) were all quite new to me.
Dec 23, 2013 rated it liked it
Full of anxiety and early modern ferment. And fin de siècle hatchet jobs.
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Adolf Franz Karl Viktor Maria Loos was an Austrian architect. He was influential in European Modern architecture, and in his essay Ornament and Crime he abandoned the aesthetic principles of the Vienna Secession. In this and many other essays he contributed to the elaboration of a body of theory and criticism of Modernism in architecture.
Loos authored several polemical works. In Spoken into the V

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26 likes · 6 comments
“I will not subscribe to the argument that ornament increases the pleasure of the life of a cultivated person, or the argument which covers itself with the words: “But if the ornament is beautiful! ...” To me, and to all the cultivated people, ornament does not increase the pleasures of life. If I want to eat a piece of gingerbread I will choose one that is completely plain and not a piece which represents a baby in arms of a horserider, a piece which is covered over and over with decoration. The man of the fifteenth century would not understand me. But modern people will. The supporter of ornament believes that the urge for simplicity is equivalent to self-denial. No, dear professor from the College of Applied Arts, I am not denying myself! To me, it tastes better this way.” 9 likes
“Every period had its style: why was it that our period was the only one to be denied a style? By “style” was meant ornament. I said, “weep not. Behold! What makes our period so important is that it is incapable of producing new ornament. We have out-grown ornament, we have struggled through to a state without ornament. Behold, the time is at hand, fulfilment awaits us. Soon the streets of the cities will glow like white walls! Like Zion, the Holy City, the capital of heaven. It is then that fulfilment will have come.” 5 likes
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