Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Victorian Tangles

If I was asked to list functional items - things that are made to do the job they do and nothing more - I'd probably list items like "hammer" or "bedspring." I'd probably also look to the past and add "milk bucket" and maybe even "radiator." But I'd be wrong with the last one, as this picture clearly shows.

This is a radiator from an upstairs bathroom in a Victorian era building. It's cool and swirly enough on its own, but I can't help but think of the many stories behind its arrival and installation...

Consider that the radiator, at its basic level, is simply meant to provide warmth to a room.

But the designers of this radiator wanted STYLE in addition to substance!

Then I consider the image most people have of dour Victorian businessmen (and let's be realistic - they were nearly all men). I contrast that image with the rampant swirly flourishes on this functional item and wonder what it is, exactly, that drives us - humans - to inject beauty in the most unexpected places.

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