Monday, December 1, 2008
The Mantel Clock in its Place
The scales of human built things on the earth are endless. There are countless names for groups, sections, areas, and objects, all suggesting a different scale of things. It is almost frightening to consider all of these scales in order, because we are unsure of how far these scales span out, or how far one object can be expanded upon, in either direction. Take for example, a simple mantel clock by Joseph Maria Olbrich. This art nouveau style clock was created with purpose. An object that belonged to a room. And as it was created specifically for this room, it belonged there. Just as the room itself was designed and fit specifically with the building.
Art nouveau was about nature, and in nature, everything has it’s purpose. The mantel clock is in it’s room, the room is in it’s building, and now the building needs a place. As art nouveau is about everything having a purpose, the building has it’s place somewhere with nature nearby, so as to connect the outside to the inside- connecting the rest of the universe to a smaller scale, just as the mantel clock does for the building. It is in this way that the mantel clock influences the world: by being the smallest scale, from which to grow upwards. Without this clock, the room cannot tell the time. Without the room, the building would not be whole, and without the building, and it’s connection to nature, the built environment and the place in which it exists would have no connection. It is a system of influences and parts that make up the human experience of the built environment, and in a system, every piece has it’s purpose, just as the mantel clock by Olbrich influences the piece of earth and space is occupies.
In comparison, The washstand has a direct connection to it's location in Greensborough, as the washstand was placed in a house for the governor, which the city was designed around. Without the washstand influencing the room and building, the building couldn't influence the location, much like the mantel clock.
In contrast, the Macintosh 512k in it's place is dissimilar because it is in a museum, on display. While it fits in the museum as a piece of art, like all other pieces of art to be observed, it does not serve any other function besides display. It impacts the place it is in by being a part of it, but in contrast, the mantel clock is a functioning part of it's place, influencing the larger scales in a different way.
(photograph taken by me in paris, france, as an example of a city in which nature is a big part, where an art nouveau style building could possibly be situated near a natural area.)