Lajos Schoditsch's Industrial School is awaiting renovation. Sitting across the street from the Hungarian architect István Medgyaszay's Petőfi Theater, the former school will soon serve as its office building. Both built at the turn of the century, each is marked by a level of ornamentation that would soon later be rejected by Modernism as it became the dominant global movement in 20th century architecture and design. Designed by early followers of Otto Wagner and the Secession movement, however, the two structures are decorated with a blend of folkloric design elements and linear ornamentation common to the Art Nouveau style.
Currently sitting in disuse, the late Industrial School's undecorated walls has become the perfect site to re-investigate themes of ornamentation and decoration. Propelled by postmodernism's comeback and advanced digital design tools, a new exhibition opening this past week in Hungary, titled 12 Walls–Architecture and Contemporary Ornament, has asked 12 architects and designers to explore the current roles and boundaries of the ornament.
"In recent years, there is a novel interest in the ornament," said the exhibition's curators. However, "departing from its original meaning, decoration is not a secondary or complementary function anymore, but an organic part of a designed whole, an addition defining unique architectural quality."
"Many emerging architects and studios are struggling to settle with the repeatedly omitted, yet constantly resurfacing ornament," they added.
Organized by the Budapest-based architecture studio Paradigma Ariadné, the various designers—which includes Adam Nathaniel Furman, Andrew Kovacs, and the multidisciplinary practice Space Popular, among others—have taken over the abandoned building's walls in order to display their different approaches and take on part of the city's unused heritage for cultural purposes.
The exhibition will remain open through November 30th. For more information, visit here.
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