Today the question of ornament and its appropriate use has gained renewed topicality due to the crucial dissemination of digital technology; and the ‘Return of Ornaments’ is clear across scales from products to architecture. Digital technology is part of this evolution introducing flexible production and customized items, which entails an artistic and manufacturing freedom, which is revolutionary relative to the standards of mass production. Thus new perspectives are opening both to the industry and the independent designer. For this reason the possible potential of ornament to accelerate or decelerate consumption is raised along with a discussion of its possible role to create meaning in people’s lives. Can ornamentation differentiate and determine the lifespan of products between the strong forces of the Good Taste of Minimalism and the abundance of shifting life style identities? In this paper we will look at contemporary use of ornament in different scales and contexts – from fashion textiles and interior objects to architecture. The lifespan of a building is different from that of a fashion dress or a plate, but with the digital era it seems like the concern of appropriateness in ornament is no longer an issue. This paper wants to renegotiate this appropriateness with Adolf Loos in discussing the lasting values in ornamental play with technology, materials and historical references.
Ornament; Design History; Fashion Textiles; Digital Printing; Table Ware; Architecture