What is Ornament?
is a question which doesn’t need definitive answers but instead prompts a series of possible discussions. The book is organized as a reader: a collection of contributions, ranging from Vitruvius to the current day dealing, in different ways with the debate around ornament. The reader is the theoretical complement of the homonym exhibition, part of the 5th Lisbon Architecture Triennale ‘The Poetics of Reason’. The book reflects the narrative structure of the exhibition: looking at fragments and moldings as the occasion in which ornament is discrete and condensed into few precise points; considering columns as ambivalent structural elements; looking at cladding as a conscious project rather than the passive result; exploring patterns, intended as regularly repetitive arrangements reflecting the time and the society in which they are conceived; looking at information superstructures like texts, frescoes and screens, when they become the main instrument to compose a building; enlarging ornament to the whole urban environment, embracing the complexity of shared space and imagining it as a scene for the development of public life.
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