We’re in the process of designing some decorative metalwork in a current project and have been looking for inspiration. In Chicago, decorative metalwork started with Carson Pirie Scott, designed by Louis Sullivan. The Carson Pirie Scott building was finished in 1899. Amazingly, European modernists considered it a modern building. Between the poor quality of photography at that point and deliberate cropping of photos, most European architects didn’t discover the ornament on the first two floors until they saw the building in person. The building is now named the Sullivan Center, after its architect. It houses a Target, the Chicago office for Gensler and the School of the Art Institute, among other things. The metalwork is still outstanding today with impressive intricacies!
Artist Matt Woodward has drawn inspiration from Sullivan’s ornament. His large-scale drawings capture Sullivan’s metalwork, drawn using discarded construction materials. Their scale and etherial juxtaposition to detail are impressive.