An entire book of architectural caprices is just the thing I like to see, so it’s a shame that most of the examples in Fantaisies Architecturales (1890) by Henri Mayeux are little more than sketches. Mayeux was an architect and a professor of decorative arts whose previous book had been a guide to the composition of decoration and its historical use. Fantaisies Architecturales applies a similar approach to architectural styles, offering a variety of historical pastiches as well as suggestions suited to stage designs and more contemporary buildings.
Mayeux’s inventiveness is considerable but he shares with many of the architects of 19th-century expositions a reluctance or inability to imagine anything that breaks with the styles of the past. Étienne-Louis Boullée’s colossal plan for a cenotaph for Isaac Newton (proposed in 1784) remains astonishing because its design is so unprecedented. The construction of the vast internal sphere may have exceeded the engineering limits of the time but the unadorned abstraction of the design is closer to the architecture of the 20th century than anything from the 19th. The Eiffel Tower had been built a couple of years before Mayeux’s book was published but it wasn’t until the Exposition Universelle of 1900 that Paris saw any other buildings that could complement its architectural novelty.
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Halloween in Austin, Texas this year will look and sound like this.
• “Blade Runner will prove invincible“: Philip K Dick’s letter of praise to the film’s producers. Related: one of the Blade Runner designers, Syd Mead, has recently styled New York’s Bar Basque and Foodparc.
• “I decided to go into fields where mathematicians would never go because the problems were badly stated…I have played a strange role that none of my students dare to take.” RIP Benoît Mandelbrot.
• Science and poetry: “a richly vexed topic badly in need of rethinking”. Related: Why the Singularity isn’t going to happen.
• In case you missed this week’s earlier announcement, a reminder that I was interviewed at Coilhouse. My vanity: it knows no bounds.
• Franklin Booth’s illustrations for The Flying Islands of the Night (1913) by James Whitcomb Riley.
• On the Verge (1950) by Maurice Sandoz, illustrated by Salvador Dalí. Also this and this.
Bowie Sphinx, 1969. Photo by Brian Ward.
• The Laughing Gnostic: David Bowie and the Occult.
• “Moonlighting as a Conjurer of Chemicals“: Isaac Newton’s alchemical interests.
• “A sense of otherness that goes right back“: Alan Garner at Alderley Edge.
• Jimmy’s End—Alan Moore’s new feature film and spin-off TV series.
• A Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain by Owen Hatherley.
• The It Gets Better Project now has a dedicated website.
• Quicksand (1971) by David Bowie.
The original company logo from 1976 depicts Isaac Newton sitting under a tree with the fateful apple glowing above his head and looks about as far removed from a computer company logo as it’s possible to get. The picture frame contained Wordsworth’s description of Newton, “A mind forever voyaging through strange seas of thought, alone.”
Rob Janoff designed the more familiar Apple at about the same time. The typeface used was Motter Tektura.
According to the logo designer…the typeface was selected for its playful qualities and techno look, in line with Apple’s mission statement of making high-technology accessible to anyone.
As with many old typefaces, there doesn’t seem to be a font of Motter Textura available today apart from this Cyrillic clone.
The original apple was streamlined and given coloured bars at
Steve Jobs’ behest in order to “humanise the company”.
Ironically, it was Jobs who also decided to remove the colour bars in 1998. The current logo is now a typical piece of flexible contemporary branding, easily reproduced in any colour, at any size or shape.