What is the value of tradition in the design world, whether it is architecture, decorative motifs or a myriad of other related fields?
This value can extend to different audiences, too… clients, colleagues & the next up & coming generations of practitioners. Is there a value to teaching the classical orders from Assyrian, Egyptian, Greek to Etruscan & Roman for architectural training, or classical cast drawing for artists? What about Chinese, Indian, Islamic or other non-western cultures? While I do not overtly copy the classical orders or details, I use them freely in my practice or evolve them in a mannered way that makes sense just not to me & my colleagues, but also to my clients. While I did not draw hyper-realistic cast drawings myself, the practice of doing it taught my eyes & hands to interpret the world around me with a loose precision that would not otherwise have been possible.
The bottom line is that I am constantly interpreting what is around me & also what is going through my head as I resolve designs & go for a finished aesthetic product.
Artists such as Egon Schiele & many others, learned to evolve their aesthetics by having this classical training in seeing the real world around them with precision…this as their technical base from which they sprang & evolved their own visual language, often tinged with exaggerated features & barely contained erotica. Gustave Klimt, the great “decorative” & portrait artist turned detailing into a sensuous patterning that draped his society subjects & patrons in a wholly original vocabulary & language.
In architecture, this tradition of studying important buildings from the past is also a foundation for many
architects who are considered modern… The Palais Stoclet & the Villa Empain are two examples of Art Deco or Moderne, both designed by architects who abstracted & interpreted many elements of proportion, scale & even down to detail to come up with buildings that may remind us of older ones we have seen & know, but remain examples of original built art. Across many visual fields, this track seems to hold true…
So, one point for tradition seems to be that the more we study, remember and learn from the past & past examples, the richer our vocabulary becomes, whether we directly copy & apply or interpret & evolve our own language.