Basic Importance of Structure

Basic Importance of Structure

It is a weakness of present-day decoration that it so largely fails to recognize the basic importance of structure, and so largely concerns itself with what is applied and incidental, as the builders of forty years ago so largely ignored proportion and structural ephasis and concerned themselves with fussy bays, dormers, brackets, grills, shaped shingles and jig-saw applique, which to the surer taste of to-day seem in the last degree tawdry, trivial and ugly. This failure to recognize the basic importance of structure is peculiarly characteristic of our treatment of the ceiling.

The ceiling is the roof of the room, the sheltering and protecting element. In all the great decorative periods it was given a relatively elaborate treatment. The classic methods of ceiling decoration, besides being quite beyond the means of the average home owner, are for the most part rendered unfitting by the very low ceilings which, in the interests both of economy and of repose, characterize most modern homes. Ceilings treated in plaster relief or with beaming are widely used in rooms having a ceiling height of ten feet or more, and with excellent effect when they are in scale with the room and well executed; but the great number of ceilings in ordinary homes are and will continue to be of plain plaster, tinted or covered with canvas and painted. In their treatment the decorator is concerned with three factors: texture, already discussed; tone; and support.

The ceiling must seem to the mind to have some body and weight, since in the modern house it is to be regarded not as the sky above the room but rather as its roof. The very common practice of making the ceiling perfectly smooth and of doing it in white or pale cream regardless alike of its actual height and of the coloring and tone of the walls often results not only in sharp tone contrasts by which the mind is more or less consciously perturbed, but also in the loss of the sense of sheltered intimacy. Making the ceiling slightly rougher-for example, by covering it with cloth and painting it in oil and stippling-and keeping it a little lower in tone, according to a formula to be stated in the chapter on light and shade, makes it seem heavier and therefore more satisfactory to the mind, while at the same time it prevents an inartistic contact with the walls.

Whatever its tone, the ceiling must seem to be adequately supported. This requires the use of a supporting molding of some kind at the point where the ceiling appears to rest on the sidewall. The position, depth, projection and ornamental character of this member will naturally depend upon the proportions of the room and upon its function and decorative motive, and it ought in every case to be determined by a competent architectural designer. In any case the cornice molding must appear in its turn to be adequately supported. Nothing is more disturbing, and few things more commonly experienced, than the consciousness of a cornice which seems heavy enough amply to support the ceiling, but is itself quite unsupported and apparently suspended in the air.

FIGURE 35 - structural adequacy with cornice

FIGURE 35.- note the effect of structural adequacy produced by the addition of the cornice (B). The effect would be still more satisfactory as the result of an increase in the height and projection of the base-board.

Walls of a Room - Decoration and Proportion>>>>

Interior Decorating Course Interior Decorating Course
1. The Nature and Method of the Art | The Nature of Interior Decoration | The Method of Interior Decoration | 2. Fitness to Purpose | Interior Decoration Factors | Interior Decorator | Decorative Materials | 3. The Grammar of Decoration | Grammar of Decoration | Form and Color | 4. Line and Form | Line and Form | Curved Lines | Broken Vertical Lines | Diagonal Lines | Three Dimensions | 5. Color | The Nature of Color | The Study of Color | Complementary Colors | Color Constants | Color and Emotion | Color Binaries | 6. The Significance of Texture | The Significance of Texture | Harmonious Textures | 7. The Elements of Beauty | Elements of Beauty | The Human Mind | The Human Mind II | The Dominant Element | The Dominant Element 2nd Method | Reccuring Lines, Shapes and Echoed Colors | Repetition of Color | Perception of Beauty | Variety in Decoration | 8. The Law of Contrast | The Law of Contrast | Contrast and Comparison | Tone Contrast | Tranquility | Individual Feeling | 9. Proportion | Proportion | The Laws of Proportion | Proportions-Creation of a room | Proportions-Creation of a room II | Increasing & Diminishing The Apparent Size of a Room | The Arrangement of Furniture | Proportion-Individual Decorative Units | Instinctive Insistance of a Dominant Element | Basic Importance of Structure | Walls of a Room - Decoration and Proportion | 10. Balance | Balance | Decorative Weight or Power of Attraction | Fixed Decorations, Furniture & Small Unimportant Pieces | Bisymmetric and Formal Balance | Balanced Distribution of Pictures and Rugs | Structural Emphasis and Repose of Background Surfaces 11. Light and Shade | Light and Shade | Quantity and Intensity of Illumination | The Nature and Distribution of Light | Secondary Contracts between Background and Ornamental Objects | 12. The Dominant Hue | The Dominant Hue | Temperament in Decoration | Color to Supplement or Correct Nature | Choice of the Dominant Hue | Background Color | 13. Color Harmony | Color Harmony I | Color Harmony II | Diversity and Animation of Harmonies | Complementary of a Room | Triads in Decoration | Distribution and Intensity of Colors | Contrast - A Principle of Composition | Connecting Rooms Using Harmonious Color | 14. Ornament | Ornament | Naturalistic Ornament | Knowledge of Historic Ornament | 15. Excellence in Design | Excellence in Design - 1st Test of Excellence | Proper Use of Decorative Materials - 2nd & 3rd Tests of Excellence | Beauty in Design - 4th Test of Excellence | Designs with Walls and Wall Paper | Designs with Floor Coverings | Designs with Hangings | 16. Period Decoration Period Decoration | Different Styles in Different Periods | Decorating Traditions Handed Down from the Kings | Peculiar Styles and Decorations of Different Periods | 17. Conclusion | Conclusion

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