It is so interesting to note that in earlier days people used to take so much care of their possessions. Perhaps not as in 'take care of it', but make it as pretty as possible. Embellishments and elaborate work on every inch of it. Huge architectural structures would be constructed with intricate design all over it, perhaps different on each wall corner!
You can see this right from the Medieval Era to somewhere around the second world war.
Then suddenly there was this radical shift to 'simplicity'. Sure, simple is elegant, what a single swoop of line can convey is amazing, and can be equated to the hard work required to manage a well worked on decorated piece. Yet, simplicity gets monotonous after a while. White looks good. White in all its different shades is mesmerising. However, it is mutilated everywhere. It is only the very talented that can manage the ease and beauty of simple lines. Like the much talked about simple cuts of dresses, only the much trained and highly gifted can achieve the mesmerising sense of wonder with a single simple stroke. The rest can only manage an imitation which is coarse and clumsy, if not a fragment of their imagination - horribly gone wrong.
But what I like about those intricately made colossal buildings is the care, thought, and perseverence taken to make it. Somehow, bending a sheet of steel to a required shape does not seem to match up to the grandeur factor. Dont get me wrong, I love the skyline of a modern city. But I do love the older detailed roofs and structures of yore.
Like rexzilla mentions in his recent post, there was a time when plastic was not available, and pure linen and real cutlery was made available on common transport.
In parts of India, you still get tea served in small terracotta cups - use and throw - rather than in the tiny almost-non-degradable plastic cups, which are not only non-reusable, but also made manually, with a need for human care. Sometimes this taken-for-granted thing seems like a luxury.
Sure, linen napkins except in the most swanky of restaurants may evoke a hint of doubt in the minds of most. however, if it is a regular phenomenon, how much sweeter everything would be.
Is it just the much hyped 'pace of life' that has brought forth this change? This shift from detailed luxury to the streamlined efforts of today?
But yes, I still love the time, effort and grandeose beauty of elaborately decorated buildings, massive collosal structures with details you can get lost in, the smallest, simplest device made pretty by brass embellishments and silken tassles, the beauty of a silken/ brocaded cover v/s a plastic or polymer sheet, the china v/s the microwave resistant melomoware, the paper/ cloth doilies which covered everything rather than the dust-proof, water proof material of today. :)
Sure it may be practically difficult - a decade to build a building, a number of levers to a touch of a button, frailty vs crack proof and of course water resistant vs water and even bacteria / dust proof. But, there is a beauty and sense of satisfaction in pulling 3 levers and then rotating another few to do something compared to the simple touch of one button.
For, beauty and grandiose never did compare to practical and simple. The Grand world where the Crowned Monarch was looked upon from a distance cannot be captured by one where the President is called by his first name by all ages. [Aside: Perhaps that is the reason why 'celebrities' are revered today.]
Perhaps thats the reason I would rather spend an hour staring at Victoria Terminus (notwithstanding the history) and only five in front of Signature Towers.