Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Ornamental Floors in Architecture

I was recently reading the blog of an excellent architect whose ecclesiastical work we have featured here before, Dino Marcantonio (See: Another Talented Catholic Classical Architect, Feb. 2008).

While visiting his site, a few articles caught my attention, but that which I particularly wished to note came in the context of an article on work of the architectural firm of Edward York and Philip Sawyer, where a simply splendid cosmatesque floor is featured.

Floor of the Great Hall of the Bowery Savings Bank, New York City

In the course of discussing this particular aspect of this building, two interesting details came forward. The first was the fact that an Italian firm, SICIS, yet still pursue the art of cosmatesque floors.

The second is Mr. Marcantonio's wife, Paloma Pajares Ayuela, has written a book on this very subject, Cosmatesque Ornament: Flat Polychrome Geometric Patterns in Architecture

The topic of ornamental floors, be they cosmatesque, mediaeval style tile or otherwise, is a subject I have always found of particular interest. I believe it is an aspect of our architectural tradition which is often overlooked and under-estimated and yet in our most splendid churches and buildings generally, one is not only put in the presence of beauty when looking up, but also when looking down.

Laurentian Library, Basilica of San Lorenzo, Florence (Image source)

More recent articles:

For more articles, see the NLM archives: