Ornament and pattern are form-based languages — the visual articulation of ideas. When successful, it offers a good read. And when the stories it tells are compelling, ornament and pattern go further. They show us something new. We can see ornament’s narrative at work in Neils van Eijk and Miriam van der Lubbe’s souvenir windmills: New Dutch Blue. Arabic, African, and European patterns say that those identities are part of the Netherlands today.
The essay covers the issues of politics, class and gender that have surrounded ornament, and provide six ways for understanding contemporary ornament:
Of all of them, I was most interested in the idea of amplification
Here, contemporary designers use ornament and pattern to tease out the layers of meaning in a single object. The work serves as an interpreter, enriching our understanding of the places and things that populate the material landscape. Ornament that amplifies tells several stories at once.