Classic ornament and applied arts

'The influence of classic ornament on applied arts' is the title of issue n.1 2016 of Arredo & Città and it documents the close relationship between 19th century applied arts and ornament from classical tradition. Street furniture on display at the Italian Museum of Cast Iron confirms this link through the rich decorations, which caused us to write an in-depth analysis of this interesting aspect.

The second half of the 1800s celebrates the final consecration of archaeology as a scientific discipline based on the study of ancient sources and direct investigations in the field. Collections were begun with the goal of displaying and providing visibility for the masterpieces of classical antiquity, and finally everyone can enjoy them. This brings us to the birth of a new taste and style: neoclassicism, able to involve the entire artistic panorama.

Simultaneously, the 19th century was also marked by urban change sparked by progress that offered solutions for infrastructure and urban décor for the first time. The revolutionary material is iron, with surfaces “covered” with that decorative taste inherited from classical Greco-Roman tradition. In this way, we can combine useful information and beauty, and though they are very simple, these decorations that embellish lamp posts, vases, railings, brackets, fountains and benches are the expression of an entire era and not just improvised creations that have been copied.