Decorative columns: a new life in modern interiors

Structural forms in architecture and design are subject to a certain ideology, ideas and aspirations. Masters of Ancient Greece gave us three orders: Doric, Ionic and Corinthian. Ancient Rome was place of origin of Tuscan and Composite orders.  This is a classic that keeps in balance the constructive logic and decorative sense. What do the columns stand for today in frames of architecture and design? What are the materials used to reach a particular visual effect during the implementation of artistic projects?

Through the history of the column, we can see the changes in views of mankind and architecture. The structural support is the first and most significant purpose of a column. In ancient times it was used as a pier for huts roofs. Even in those times progressive Eastern civilizations has already begun to decorate a cap – the structural top of the column, which serves as a pier for the horizontal overlaps – with such elements as cuneiform or stonecutting with images of rulers. The classical columns of Ancient Greece are the ideal architectural forms in their ratios and esthetics. Greek column of the Parthenon is a unity of man and architecture, the ideal image of ancient Greek democracy in the architectural embodiment. Ionic, Doric and Corinthian orders are the invariable pillars for all subsequent masterpieces of architecture. Afterwards the column did not always have an exclusive role of support: the Romans began to build it as a monument, the medieval church subordinated its form to theology, and nowadays the purpose of columns is rather decorative.

Modern decorative columns are commonly used to decorate typical interiors, to improve the proportions of space and make facades recognizable. A large number of interesting techniques help to give a new life for the interiors and columns. For example, decorative pilasters, or, as they are often called, half-columns, can become an esthetic solution for hiding engineering constructions, such as pipelines. In one of our projects pilasters were used to frame windows in the bathroom. On the one hand, it is functional decision; on the other hand, it is very expressive in terms of design, especially when it comes to imitation of the classics. Freestanding decorative columns have a great impact on the ratio of space:  they increase the height of the room and help to mark out zones. There are a few examples of marking out zones in the halls and behind the entrance doors, view the photos above. In the studio apartments and mansions columns help to separate the living room from the kitchen or make a fireplace area. Framing the perimeter of the room, you can greatly increase its height, as the system of repeated vertical elements leads inevitably to this effect.

Previously, for the purpose of decoration, masters often used marble, different precious stones or just left the surface of the column white and smooth, like in Ancient Greece. Now the situation has changed significantly. New materials allow reducing costs without sacrificing the decorative effect. For example, in the classic interior columns can be finished in Venetian plaster, imitating marble. Other examples of expressive décor - gilding, silvering, moldings and decorative painting - are also useful when creating a colonnade in the styles of Baroque, Renaissance, classicism or different stylizations for the classics. If the column is not a supporting structure, then polyurethane or plaster can be used as a construction material.

With the help of new decorative materials, professional masters can turn ordinary concrete columns into real art objects, making them the center of interior or architectural composition. Despite new opportunities to experiment with texture and shape, classical canons and ratios of antiquity remain inviolable precepts in modern architecture and design.

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