Quick Snippets of Culture

Otto Wagner (1841-1918) won a major planning competition in Vienna in 1892. He launched his dictum of form following function that found near perfect expression in the aluminium glass façade he created in 1902 for the newspaper Die Zeit, which was demolished by 1908. Reconstructed in 1985 in Vienna, the facade is at Melbourne as part of the exhibition Vienna: Art & Design. It incorporates the original light fittings with large white ‘cracked’ glass round shades. Their finish is inspired by ‘cracked ice’ decoration on porcelain originally developed in 12th century China. Reputedly inspired by the reflection of a sunny blue sky in the ice of a stream cracking with the first spring thaw, it was perfected by ceramicists. The glittering nickel plated iron, aluminium and glass form façade reveals the refined, minimalistic lines that are still an intrinsic and important aspect of contemporary visual culture


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