Parsons School of Design

BFA Communication Design

Thesis 2017

Simen L. Meyer
Ornament is Crime
Simen L. Meyer
Ornament is Crime

In 1910, the architect and purist radical Adolf Loos gave a lecture, entitled Ornament and Crime. Loos credited himself with having made the discovery that would shape the 20th century: “The evolution of culture is synonymous with the removal of ornament from utilitarian objects.” His words echoed throughout the 20th century as the battle cry of the Modernist Avant-Garde. As a result of this, we now live in an age where the knowledge of crafts and skills passed down by generations are on the brink of extinction, and need to make a comeback if it is at all to survive!

The ornament that Loos feared, more so than Modernist sobriety, satisfies our human impulse to look for harmony and patterns. It has a warmth to it, and it reminds us that there is more to life than just ‘govern needs.’ My work relies both on new technologies as much as century-old crafts, utilizing genuine gold leaf in my bespoke designs.

Graphic design is not only a visual expression of great ideas, but a symbiosis between these ideas and visual aesthetics. Through my skills as a draftsman, as well as a designer, I want to show that we can find enjoyment in banality, to bring beauty back as a virtue, and to find meaning in seemingly meaningless ornament. In this world, where everyone is trying to come up with the next great idea, all I ever wanted to do was to create something beautiful for someone else to enjoy.


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