November 6, 2003
Nouveau or Ancien?

TimesHelix.jpgpoolhelix.jpg
"Ross Lovegrove's stairway, with its helix profile, is part of a new tendency by designers to borrow forms from nature." caption from The Times House and Home's "Going With the Flow, Tech Nouveau Arrives," by Phil Patton.

Even as he attempts to spin something new out of forms derived from nature, Patton acknowledges these architects' debts to the past by saying "But because of new materials and aesthetics, these influences are updating the effulgent, botanical shapes of Art Nouveau of a century ago and rethinking the biomorphic sci-fi boomerangs and kidney-shape coffee tables of the mid-20th century." (Italics, mine.)

But what about Berthold Lubetkin's penguin pool at the London Zoo, just a tube ride away from Ross Lovegrove's Notting Hill home office? According to one Web site:

"Lubetkin seems to have seen this building as an opportunity to creatively explore the possibilities of a new building material available in 1934Śreinforced concrete. Having studied the habits of penguins he created a penguin enclosure and pool that provides an interesting environment for the penguins, a multiplicity of viewing angles for the spectator and a Modernist building of true clarity and style." (Italics, mine again.)

So, is it a new tendency? Let's let old man Wright have the final word: "Nature is my manifestation of God. I go to nature every day for inspiration in the day's work. I follow in building the principles which nature has used in its domain." Frank Lloyd Wright, 1869-1959

[Thanks, Chloe!]

Posted in a Shallow fashion.

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