*It's not my intention to offend anyone's tender feelings for religious maxims.  I was just pondering on the way design concepts are shared/stolen, and deceits are perpetrated in the name of design.  Tell me what you think!

1. There is only one style and his name is Modernism.

Federation style mansion in Domain Street.
South Yarra, Victoria
Image courtesy of Biatch via Wikimedia
Traditionalists and preservationists love the old stuff.  The craftsmanship is better, the materials are better, the details have evolved over millennia to keep out the weather and the traditional forms are part of our collective consciousness.  Great, right?
But in the late 1800's, the adoration of historical styles got a bit out of hand.  Designers were chopping and mishmashing styles together until they resulted in a somewhat delightful but entirely overwhelming eclecticism that birthed a new rebellious movement.  This movement came to be called Modernism.

Mies van der Rohe's Farnsworth House.
Image courtesy of 20 Letters.

Modernism is part of our whole world today. "Less is More." Clean is better than decorated.  Detail is eschewed.  Reference to forms that the collective consciousness would recognize is absolutely forbidden.
Lovers of white-washed modernism claim that there is no way to love both what is modern and what came before it!

2. If you can afford it, have lots of graven images.  

Example: Corinthian capitals (first known example in 2 A.D. in Rome) represent leaves of the acanthus plant atop thousands of columns worldwide.

The Corinthian column capitals were predated (2600 years) by the plant style columns & capitals in Egypt, the oldest being at the Step Pyramid complex of Zoser. (see #8 below)

Corinthian capital,
Chiswick House, London.
Image courtesy of orangeaurochs.
Flower of the Acanthus Plant.
Image courtesy of

3. Namedrop and placedrop with nonchalance. 

Pietà by Michelangelo in St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City.
Image courtesy of Sebastian Bergmann

Be sure to pronounce names with their original phonetics, especially if it is not an English name. Say it with me: "Mee kell ANJ e lo."
As in, "I was strolling by Sahn Pee EH tro the other day to post some mail and stopped to see that exquisite Pee EH ta by Mee kell ANJ e lo."

4. Disrespect the Sabbath.

Make the most elaborate buildings ones that work harder on the Sabbath than any other day.  Call them churches, synagogues, temples, mosques, shrines.

St. Petersburg's Church on Spilt Blood
Image courtesy of Kyle Taylor
Antonio Gaudi's Basílica de la
Sagrada Família
 in Barcelona.
Image courtesy of Łukasz Dzierżanowski

5. Disrespect your predecessors 

(See #1).

6. Kill trees and debauch mountains.

Find the most beautiful materials that God made and remove them from their natural setting. Distort, assemble, polish & paint them into manmade structures.

Old stone quarry, Idlewild, Wisconsin.
Image courtesy of edenpictures
The mountains have a harder time recovering their pure state.

Entry at Casa Batlló, Barcelona.
Image courtesy of David Flores
At least the trees are renewable

7. Cheat

If you can't afford a beautiful home, great art for your wall, or exquisite appointments, put in a window and frame something that Nature made. Well, occasionally a great view is affordable.  Less so these days.

Cole Residence by Frederick & Frederick Architects

8. Steal

It has been said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Copyright infringers would certainly agree, and so would designers.
Famous example: Jefferson imitated Palladio's Villa Rotunda at Monticello.

Monticello, Virginia (1772) by Thomas Jefferson.
 Image courtesy of clarkcj2
Villa Rotunda, Vicenza, Italy (1567) by Andrea Palladio
Image courtesy of Theodore Ferringer

Typical example: Ubiquitous across America, middle class bungalows copy Green & Green's lavish California cottages (early 1900s) which in turn were inspired by the bungalows of India.

Gamble House, Pasadena. 1908 Greene & Greene.
Image courtesy of ercwttmn.
Advert for Sears Modern Home (Bungalow)
No. 172.  Image in the Public Domain (US).
Sears sold over 100,000 homes btw 1908 & 1940.

9. Lie.  Pretend you have more than you have.

Famous example: Trompe l'oeil (literally "to deceive the eye") at Palladio's Teatro Olympico (1584) uses the painting rules of perspective combined with the foreshortening of relief sculpture in his theater's stage to imply much more depth and space than is actually there.
He even magnified the stature of the audience members by interspersing sculptures in congregation with the real people.

Permanent stage backtrop at Teatro Olympico, Vicenza.
Image courtesy of GOC53

Audience seating at Teatro Olympico.
Image courtesy of GOC53

Joseph Smith Memorial Building  (formerly
the Hotel Utah, 1909-1911), Salt Lake City.
Lobby columns are painted to look like marble.
Image courtesy of  Edgar Zuniga, Jr.

Typical example: Faux bois (literally "false wood"). If you can't afford stone, build it out of wood and painting marble-like veining on it.  If you live where there is only pine, paint it to look like oak.  From Ireland to America, faux bois has been the finish of choice for those aspiring to the upper classes.

Isn't pretending just so chic when it's in French?

10. Covet. Don't be happy with what you have.

Famous example: The gardens at Vaux le Vicomte set a new standard.  They were so magical that mere hours after being a guest, King Louis XIV threw the owner Fouquet in prison for the rest of his life and confiscated plants, sculptures and artwork for himself. (1661)  He then used the same design team to create Versailles.

Vaux le Vicomte gardens by architect Le Vau,
painter-decorator Le Brun and landscape gardener Le Nôtre.
Image courtesy of @lain G peu dispo

Typical example: Keeping up with the Joneses.


p.s. two Gaudi (Gow DI) references, two Palladio (Pah LA dee oh) references and two Mies (MEE s) references: check!

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