Faculty of Art and Design

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Monash University Handbook 2010 Undergraduate - Unit

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

FacultyFaculty of Art and Design
OfferedGippsland Second semester 2010 (Off-campus)
Coordinator(s)Dr Robert Nelson


Philosophical issues concerned with the ritual and ideological values of objects and the design ethos 'proper' to them. The difference in habit between tensile members and compressive members in architecture compared to the respective ornamental expressions. Ornament and the modes of construction in timber, textile, clay and glass. Textual recommendations of theorists from antiquity to the twentieth century are judged for their internal logic, cultural implications and acceptability in the context of contemporary theory.


On completion of this unit, students will:

  1. have a critical appreciation of the historical development of ornamental design from pre-classical times to Art Deco;
  2. appreciate the diversity of the origins of ornamental motifs, whether derived from engineering or ritual, as in tattooing or body-piercing and be able to speculate about their historical sustainability;
  3. be able freely to obtain access to resources of ornamental traditions and information concerning their aptness with respect to historical and cultural background;
  4. be able to speculate critically on the meaning of pattern-making, repetition, abstraction and figuration in the context of a variety of practical objects and biological interventions;
  5. possess an informed opinion concerning the fortunes of ornament during modernism and the likely place of decorative design in contemporary discourses and practices


Two essays:2000 words 40%
3000 words 60%

Chief examiner(s)

Robert Nelson

Contact hours

3 hours lecture/tutorial and 9 independent study hours per week


A first year sequence in TAD units for faculty course students or permission for all other students.