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Grand Designs and Andrea Palladio

My favourite TV programs are design, architectural and history shows. My Dad had Foxtel installed to watch his beloved soccer. When I would visit I would put on design shows and other decorating shows. Mum and I also loved to watch old black and white movies. When Dad would arrive home after coaching soccer he would roll his eyes and say ‘When our Rosena visits I forget what colour television looks like’ Mum and I would just smile and ignore him.

One of my favourite shows during this time was Grand Designs. The host of the show Kevin McCloud would follow of adventures of people building their dream homes. I was amazed at the courage of the people building these grand designs. Eventually to my great delight the Grand Design shows were shown on the ABC. My husband ended up as addicted to the shows as I was.

On Tuesday night Kevin McCloud introduced his four part new series called ‘Kevin McCloud’s Grand Tour’. In the program he takes a tour of the wonderful buildings of Andrea Palladio. I absolutely love Palladio’s work.

Andrea’s buildings of perfect symmetry have had a lasting influence on architecture around the world. His villas were built on podiums and were approached by impressive staircases. They were often a perfect square and the interiors of the houses had a central hall often with a dome. The windows were usually large and high with columns and the widely copied Palladian motif. The Palladian motif is made up of two giant columns supporting their own entablature then two sets of smaller columns each supporting their own entablature.

I found it amusing that Kevin measured one of the buildings to discover Palladio broke his own rules. Andrea published a book on his architectural style. I had thought some time ago I must get a copy of his book. Then I promptly forgot about it. I have now found a copy and will order a copy sometime.

This idea of breaking design rules is an interesting topic. I have noted a tendency in some current interior design practice to break the rules of proportion. For example in some display homes I have noticed very small tables often have very large vases, sculpture or lamps placed on them.

‘Design must seduce, shape, and perhaps 
more importantly, evoke emotional response.’

April Greiman
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