As Alina Payne explains, From Ornament to Object “is not a book about industrial design. It is about architecture and Kleinarchitektur, about furniture and small portable objects” (21). It is also not a book about the design or use of such objects; rather, it is concerned with how, beginning in the nineteenth century, these objects motivated theoretical questions of style and form. Through textual sources, Payne traces the rhetorical decline of ornament in relation to the rise of everyday objects in art and architectural theories from the German-speaking countries of Europe.

The primary interlocutors include well-known heroes of modernism Le Corbusier, Adolf Loos, and Hermann Muthesius, as well as Gottfried Semper, Heinrich Wölfflin,...

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