Monday, November 3, 2008
Victor 2 Humpack in the Biltmore Estate
I would say that the main idea of the Victor 2 Humpback Phonograph is being heard both literally and figuratively. Since the Victor 2 was a larger and more powerful gramophone, one of the advantages to having one was that it could produce a louder sound. Obviously, this would be appealing to those who could afford it since they were the ones that would throw parties and entertain large groups of people—they would want all of their friends to be able to hear the glorious music. This idea of “being heard” works even better on a metaphorical level. I would say the Victor 2 was a status symbol and was about letting people hear that you had money just as much about letting people hear the music. For this reason I put the Victor 2 in a study or personal library area. Running with the “being heard” motif, I placed the library in the Biltmore Estate.
The Biltmore Estate was completed in 1895, a few years before the Victor 2 was manufactured (1902). I do not think, however, that it is unreasonable to picture the gramophone within the estate several years later. Built for the Vanderbilt family, the Biltmore House is all about saying, “hear we are,” and being “heard.” At 175,000 square feet, this building is more of a symbol of wealth than anything else, much like the Victor 2. The Vanderbilt family didn’t spare any expense either, as they hired Richard Morris Hunt to design the chateau and Frederick Olmsted to design the estate grounds. Even though it is situated in the outskirts of Asheville, NC, it still attracts thousands of visitors to look in awe over the immense wealth the Vanderbilt family had.
Similar to the Victor 2 and this idea of making a statement is the Charles Rennie Mackintosh chair. The chair's design is such that you probably wouldn't see anywhere but at the residence of a wealthy person. This chair is definitely a luxury as is the Victor 2 Humpback.
In contrast, the umbrella holder in Prince Gong's mansion is much less about show and more about utility. Even though the umbrella holder is still designed to be pleasing to the eye and isn't necessarily a necessity, I would still say it is less about making a statement because an umbrella holder isn't always incredibly noticeable.