Morris and Webb at Standen

    150 150 Daniel Fountain
    • 0

    I’m a sucker for much of Victorian design. Inventive, creative, the birth of the machine age unleashed a wave of design, and the Victorians built an art college in every major English town to act as a seedbed for creative and revolutionary thinking. Whilst industrialists powered on devising more and more impressive production lines and mass producing items for a new consumer market (factory workers wages were initially three time the earning of agricultural workers, moving population from the land to the new cities) the revolutionaries such as Mackintosh and Morris exploited design processes to create a new aesthetic.

    Standen, outside East Grinstead in Sussex is one of the finest examples of the merging of the inventive industrial processes with the respect for the past and understanding of materials that typify the best of Victorian Design. The new Morris &Co ranges were appropriately launched at Standen with an exhibition that blurred the lines between then and now. Still under restoration by the UK’s National Trust, Standen was a collaboration between architect Philip Webb and the Morris factory. A close friend of Morris who he worked alongside in the same architects practise for a while, Webb worked with Morris setting up Morris & Co. and designed many items associated with the Morris works.

    Standen was a product of Webb’s architectural practise and he worked with Morris to produce a harmonious and stunning home for the Beale family. Initially the site was occupied by a 14th century farmhouse and Webb incorporated the structure into his design. As one approaches the house it is the 14th century building and a barn that dominate the view, but from the gardens at the rear the full beauty of the building becomes apparent.

    The control of proportion , the sensitivity of scale makes the house sit at ease in the landscape. Comparing it with contemporary houses is like comparing Imperial and A size paper. Imperial sizes based on the human form and the golden section are easy to use in composition when drawing and lend themselves to a degree of aesthetic sub-division missing in the Intellectually created A sizes. These are a logical progression where the long side of one size makes the short side of the next size up.Emotion versus intellect. Humanity versus logic.

    Continued on page 2

    Daniel Fountain / 31.08.2011

    Editor, Hotel Designs


    • 0