Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture

Monash University

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2015 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

FacultyFaculty of Art, Design and Architecture
OfferedGippsland First semester 2015 (Off-campus)
Gippsland Second semester 2015 (Off-campus)
Coordinator(s)Dr Julie Cotter


Themes in the understanding of decorative design are initially structured historically; however, once a basic framework is established, discussions move to the philosophical issues concerned with the ritual and ideolological values of objects and the design ethos, which is 'proper' to them. The unit examines a great range of manifestations: the difference in habit between tensile members and compressive members in architecture is compared to the respective ornamental expressions; ornament and the modes of construction in timber (as in furniture) are examined, as are those in textile (such as weaving, crochet, knitting) or clay (throwing and hand-building) and glass (hot and cold).


On successful completion of this unit, student 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 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
  5. possess an informed opinion concerning the fortunes of ornament during modernism and the likely place of decorative design in contemporary discourses and practices.


Essay (3000 words):50%
Class paper (3000 words):50%

Chief examiner(s)

Off-campus attendance requirements

Students not required to attend residential program


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