What is ornament?

Trienal de Arquitectura de Lisboa

Curator: Ambra Fabi, Giovanni Piovene


The debate around ornament and its elusive nature has been crucial in the definition of fundamental turning points in history of architecture. This exhibition will explain how ornament has never completely disappeared, reconnecting to its long-lost history, and demonstrating how it can still exist as an essential issue in contemporary architecture. Can ornament still be considered as integral part of architecture? Can ornament still be a quantitative and qualitative choice? Can we still imagine its precise positioning?

In recent years, ornament has frequently been associated with the realm of digital architecture and to the figurative treatment of evenly-decorated building envelopes. The risk of this banalization is a drastic loss of complexity, transforming the ornament into mere decoration. 

What is ornament? opens up different angles by evoking artworks, objects, furniture, books, movies and photographs distribute in a set of six collections, transcending history and blur the boundaries among disciplines. 

– 1 DEC 2019

Free entry on sundays


4 OCT FRI 22:00

Tuesday to Sunday 


Trienal de Arquitectura
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