Ornament and Crime by Adolf Loos

Ornament and Crime was written by Adolf Loos (1870-1933) who was one of the pioneer of the modern architecture. In my opinion, this book has more difficult language than the books that I read before. In the book, he has a some kind of ‘’less is more’’ understanding. So, in order to give that idea to us, he used some different examples such as tattooes and shoes etc.

 In the beginning, he mentioned that a newborn child has somehow a link with a newborn puppy. And when the child is getting age, he/she become aware of violence and Loos is explaining it with giving the Papuan example. He linked Papuans and children because they have some kind of similarities about their attitudes. They are both amoral in that time’s people eyes. ( I am not sure if this understanding is still exist or not).

 After all of these the ornament was the more discussed part. According to Adolf Loos, ornament is some kind of crime that kills the origin of the structure and ornament changes the way we think about a structure. He gives about this part which is tattooes. He said that a modern man who has a tattoo is potential criminal or degenerate. It is because in the jail, 80% of prisons have tattoo so that he generalized this idea. Actually, as I searched this example has some references for that years aristocrats. That’s why he said ‘’ The tattooed who are not in prison are latent criminals or degenerate aristocrats.’’

   Then, Loos said that ornament is waste of time, money, human labour and material. According to his idea, thing that has no ornament has the same properties with the thing that has ornament. But the ornaments one is too expensive then why we just buy the no ornament’s one? It is also waste of time because while selecting a furniture which has good ornament is not that easy so it takes long hours. Also, because the ornament is something that always change, it becomes waste of material,too.

   Another example for why ornaments is waste, he compared the twentieth century men and eighteenth century men according to their needs to ornament and what their gain about it. Twentieth century men have no need to ornaments and the others are becoming poorer due to ornaments economy. He also mentioned that it reflect for cooking. One of them can satisfy his needs with only a boiled vegetable while the other was looking for honey and nuts. And according to Loos, it is a waste.

  In my opinion, he was not completely against to ornaments, he was against the ornaments which are too much to become aesthetic. I agree with Loos in the point that too much ornament is waste, but also I think ornament is a need for design. Yes, chairs with have no ornament and have ornaments are both for sitting but the design is something that needs ornament to serve our eyes. That’s why we can accept the ornaments if it is not too much to become out of aesthetic looking.

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