New Grammar of Ornament


by Thomas Weil

Updating Owen Jones’ 1856 classic: the new standard typology of ornament, spanning centuries and cultures

Ornaments are omnipresent: they can be found on buildings, fabrics, jewelry, tiles, ceramics and wallpaper. Scorned at the outset of the modern age, ornament has long since returned to architecture and influences design drafts as much as tattoo motifs. In New Grammar of Ornament, German architect and designer Thomas Weil compares current ornamental objects with the results of archaeological research on ornamental artifacts, and concludes that there is an anthropological constant. From the recurring arrangements of stripes, rectangles, triangles and dots and the frequency of the forms of floral ornaments used, he derives a new “grammar of ornament.” More than 160 years after Owen Jones’ publication of that name, New Grammar of Ornament is a new reference work. It categorizes the variety of ornamental forms used worldwide and places them in a major art and cultural-historical context.

Paperback| 336 pages | D.A.P. Artbook| 2021

Thomas Weil (born 1944) studied architecture at the Technical University of Munich and early on focused on interior design and design. Since 1974 he has been working on the subject of ornamentation, which he has incorporated into numerous facades and walls as an artist. He gives national and international lectures and courses on ornamentation and is a lecturer on ornamentation at the Munich Academy of Design and Art.

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