René Binet revisited


I wrote something about French designer and architect René Binet (1866–1911) a few years ago while exploring the creation of the Paris Exposition Universelle of 1900. Binet designed the remarkable monumental gate that formed the entrance to the exhibition, a structure that demonstrated his proposal that natural forms might replace historical pastiche as a basis for architecture.


A book by Binet and Gustave Geffroy, Esquisses Décoratives (1905), argued the case with 60 plates showing Binet’s designs for new forms of architectural style and decor derived in part from the plates in Ernst Haeckel’s Kunst-Formen der Natur. At the time of the earlier post there wasn’t a copy of the book online but there is now thanks to the Smithsonian Libraries and the Internet Archive. In addition to architectural designs there are suggestions for various forms of jewellery based on Haeckel’s radiolarians and other organisms. See the rest of the plates here or download the book here.


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