Doodlings on fashion design and Palladian architecture.
Fashion and design. A dry crisp November day. Time for ladies fashion shopping in Knutsford, or Dingle? I like these colours. They could be found in either Wilmslow or Dingle. Because both are excellent for ladies fashion. The shops there are distinctive and creative. Many alternatives to the same old brands. The autumnal ochre contrasts with a processed pink in these fabrics. Contrast is a simple designer’s device. In ladies fashion it can challenge you? Maybe these colours are for the more daring?
In architecture contrast creates focus. A cameo period texture or object, thoughtfully placed, can accentuate contemporary minimal styling. To a renaissance architect contrast was “chiaroscuro” . “Clear obscure”. My favourite architect of the Italian “Rinascimento” was Andrea Palladio. His Basilica in Vicenza shows how “chiaroscuro” creates depth.
Palladio creates a rhythm of arched and rectangular openings. They open onto the walkway behind. In daylight they are contrasting shadows. In artificial light they are contrasting highlights. Each bay has one arched opening and two rectangular openings. The bays had to be variable to suit the building’s overall dimensions and functional requirements. This had to be a flexible commercial building. In each bay the two openings beside each arch are rectangles. This shape allows unequal widths. To unify his facade Palladio wants arched openings equal in height, therefore width. So he combines the arches with a pair of rectangles. He can vary the rectangle widths to suit the various bay widths. But he retains the same size of arched opening. These unify his facade.
This combination of an arched opening between two rectangular ones is used out of its original context in the English Classical revival. You will find it in many great houses and in the architecture of seventeenth and eighteenth century civic architecture. For example Park Green House, Macclesfield. Commissioned in the the late eighteenth century by textile industrialist Charles Roe. This “Palladian Window” is a full height opening at the end of the main landing of the house. The tiny left hand window was used by servants to see formal callers below.
The architecture reflects social hierarchy. From the landing two doorways lead into the drawing room. One full size for the served. Another almost next to it, smaller, for servants.