Art-Nouveau/Solarpunk town discussion thread

Discussion in 'Player Town Brainstorming' started by Nodred, Jul 9, 2019.


  1. Yeah!

    3 vote(s)
  2. Meh...

    0 vote(s)
  3. Nah.

    1 vote(s)
  1. Nodred

    Nodred Potato Taster Nerdfighter

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    Dear Nerdfighteria!
    Player towns are back and here is a first suggestion for one: the Solarpunk town.

    If you're in for a long-read on conceptual understanding of architecture and literature, open the spoiler tags, but... eh, I can rant a bit sometimes. I just didn't want to toss this bit out even though it's not a great read.

    This is not an easy question to answer to begin with, but please stick with this little theoretical description – or alternatively, skip right ahead to the pretty drawings made by various artists who are not me down below (edit: woopsie will probs upload that tomorrow).

    Solarpunk is a speculative literary genre, which means as much as “so far, there haven’t been any major literary works of this genre, but we find it important to discuss regardless.” Like other -punks, a trend that started with Cyberpunk and sparked derivations like Steampunk and Dieselpunk, Solarpunk is a science-fiction genre that predicts/envisions a future society. Unlike Cyberpunk at that, Solarpunk’s message is by definition utopian, and envisions a future world in which humanity has overcome its desire to discriminate, fight wars, or consume natural resources – a society that learns to live in harmony with nature without eschewing technology. Common themes at that are a literal and figurative diversity of colours, embracing technology and urban living, a turn towards local communal living together, and replacing labour and consumerism with a low-consumption durable circular economy run on creative hobbyists and assisted by multifunctional robots. And of course, all powered by sustainable energy, primarily solar.

    Most of ideas of Solarpunk lie in an aesthetic that goes along with that conceptual understanding and it banks very heavily of a neo-Art-Nouveau, which btw I think is the greatest architectural style ever.

    Art-Nouveau was a total art style (Gesammtkunstwerk is an Art-Nouveau related concept) comprising every field of design from architecture to graphic design to jewelry that responded to various neo-styles that popped up following the Restoration in Europe. Rather than look and imitate the orderly and rule-bound forms of the past (Neo-classic and Neo-Baroque), Art-Nouveau actively worked itself free from those traditional rules and found new rules by observing beauty found in nature, then deriving its own ruleset from there. Art Nouveau artworks are always intentionally asymmetric, but balanced, with geometric shapes formed out of seemingly chaotic lines forming a greater structure when one squints their eyes. Their ornamenture is integrated into the structure, yet complex (unlike modernism which rejects ornamenture, or Baroque which adds it onto the main structure) and there is a rhythm inside how it is applied, with the smaller elements reverberating throughout the whole. We see this in architecture that has curly ironwork ceilings that imitate vines or a forest canopy, swirly pillars, stained windows that mimic the veins on a mosquito’s wings, and smooth curves everywhere. Also, art-nouveau embraces colour. Whilst for today's standards these buildings may not seem radical, in the 19th century they totally were.

    I'm envisioning with this Solarpunk town that we'll try to work off that Art-Nouveau style but in a retrofuturistic kind of way. With it we can encapsulate exactly that kind of low-scale detail that makes such a style cozy and emphasizes its local, human scale, but also plan it out enough to guard the big line, and make a Minecraft town that is itself a Gesammtkunstwerk. It'll be difficult as heck, it'll require that our concept phase is fleshed out as can be, but its end result... will be spectacular, and unlike any other town. We'll have that small scale detail, and that large scale wholesomeness - it'll be complete and harmonious.

    We've never really had much of a team behind this project and with the new format of player towns it feels fitting to keep it that way, so I would just like to open this thread for everyone to throw spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks. I'll do the same. (I’ll stress the ideas here not as “ours” but as “mine” for this very reason, but would like to stress that this town belongs to all of you and where we’ll take it is something we’ll make together.) Post pictures, discuss styles, ideas, plans - and bear in mind nothing is set in stone, this can still go anywhere.
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2019
  2. 9ED6F5E1

    9ED6F5E1 Tree Puncher Nerdfighter

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    I felt that I should dump our chatter in public chat from after the town hall in here so that all the discussions are logged in one place.



    Spanish art noveu

    FlawyerLast Monday at 00:36

    OrtyBortortyLast Monday at 00:36

    Solarpunk concept art

    FlawyerLast Monday at 00:37

    Sir Egg of EggdoniaLast Monday at 00:38

    Market street?

    FlawyerLast Monday at 00:38

    OrtyBortortyLast Monday at 00:39

    (but the trusses would be more circular and windy, referring to the stained glass image flaw posted)

    FlawyerLast Monday at 00:40


    JentheGeekLast Monday at 00:41

    Omg I wish I had the pictures from a market I was in when I was in mexico... lemme see if google has some

    (These are photos I took on a film camera so not easy to dig out)

    FlawyerLast Monday at 00:42
    ") 50% center no-repeat;"> guild hall.jpg

    OrtyBortortyLast Monday at 00:43

    Bulging walls in a house overlooking a lake possibly

    (typing things here for reference later)

    JentheGeekLast Monday at 00:43

    used to be a market, but when it shut down the city turned it into a botanical garden

    OrtyBortortyLast Monday at 00:43

    Door under a bridge but less industrial

    JentheGeekLast Monday at 00:44

    Actually... that one Flaw posted is from that place. No wonder it reminded me of it

    FlawyerLast Monday at 00:45

    JentheGeekLast Monday at 00:47

    I want to be there

    I'm here purely to be unhelpful

    OrtyBortortyLast Monday at 00:47


    FlawyerLast Monday at 00:47


    OrtyBortortyLast Monday at 00:52


    Nautilus house, mexico

    FlawyerLast Monday at 00:56

    OrtyBortortyLast Monday at 00:57

    Building into the side of a hill

    JentheGeekLast Monday at 00:58

    Stained glass hobbit holes

    All my favourite minecraft things are exactly the things that cause lag XD

    FlawyerLast Monday at 00:59

    OrtyBortortyLast Monday at 01:05


    Lamp nod made ^


    Block palate ideas: cyan terracotta, sandstone, red sandstone

    Sir Egg of EggdoniaLast Monday at 01:09

    shezzaLast Monday at 01:11
    sorry don't have a mic right now
    so what's this meeting? just got home from work
    oooh okay

    NodredLast Monday at 01:12

    FlawyerLast Monday at 01:13

    shezzaLast Monday at 01:13

    What are player towns? is that the /explore town or /spawn?

    OrtyBortortyLast Monday at 01:14

    Cyan, pink, purple, orange, yellow, lime, and blue concrete (more block palate ideas)

    shezzaLast Monday at 01:14
    ahaha i'm afraid I also don't have a matchbox
    cries in Canadian ???
    How long is a long way?
    is the building already under way for this new town?
    Oh cool
    byeee everyone

    JentheGeekLast Monday at 02:33
    @shezza There will be a forum post, there isn't anything started yet other than being excited

    9 July 2019

    PorkChopMCYesterday at 15:12
    So I assume since Hogwarts isn’t allowed (bc copyright), Minas Tirith also isn’t?

    NerdsparkleYesterday at 15:48
    Yup hogwarts is our

    JentheGeekYesterday at 17:11
    Minas Tirith is more in a grey zone. You can use it as a concept and perhaps a variation of the name. It's less specific than Hogwarts
    Especially since it's based on a real life thing


    File:Mont Saint-Michel France.jpg


    Reading the wiki, theres been other well known adaptations of the city in games so it's more on the green side of grey
  3. Nodred

    Nodred Potato Taster Nerdfighter

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    Request @9ED6F5E1 : can you put all that in spoiler tags?

    Also without the commentary of the voice chat in which these images were sent most of them lose their context... Not all of these images were part of the discussion on Solarpunk.
  4. Nodred

    Nodred Potato Taster Nerdfighter

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    To annotate some of the pictures that Angus reposted from the voice chat: we were discussing Solarpunk in the NC voicechat the other day and whilst we were talking we threw some pictures back and forth to elaborate on the discussion we were having. I'd like to explain some of them.



    We sent these talking about Art-Nouveau, the design language that much of Solarpunk leans on. I've already heard there may have been some confusion - art nouveau is unrelated to our previous player town Nouveau Batiment in every single way. Nouveau Batiment was built in an art-deco style, which despite also starting with -art, is a style in complete opposition to art-nouveau. Art-nouveau was popular in the early industrial age, was also known as Jugendstil (style of the youth) and focusses on homelyness, asymmetry and natural forms as opposed to the tight architectural rules of the neo-rennaisance and baroque styles or the straight and over the top lines of art-deco.

    Art nouveau takes up several different intepretations, which differ mostly by country. The first two pictures here are examplary of the French intepretation and display intricate baroque-like detailing mimicking plants in particular, whilst the building's overall shape is less radical. The second two pictures show the Spanish intepretation (Modernismo), basically Gaudi's life work, and are much more fluid and radically shaped, like a scene from a fantasy landscape. The last picture I am actually not sure about, but it looks like the German intepretation (Jugendstil) - the more traditional looking pillars throw me off, but you can see that there is something odd in this building as it is not symmetrical at all.

    All that begs the question, why art-nouveau? The spirit of art-nouveau is going back to nature without eschewing change, looking at the future with hopeful optimism. This spirit is more true now than it has been in the 1900's, and thus various intepretations of solarpunk find ways to couple art-nouveau imagery to modern technology and issues - yes, solar panels.

    I just really like the green steel and latticed window feeling a lot. It invokes that sort of early-industrial look – an industrial polished away of its darker elements, admittedly, a look not of dirty coalmines but of extravagant civil works. This plays with verticality in an interesting way though, although it is also quite uniform – not as varied as could/should be.

    [​IMG]An artist whom I could only find out calls themselves “Imperial Boy” (going to assume “his/him” from hereon out) drew this. It speaks to the imagination, but I’d like to point out a few things in particular that should inspire us to build a solarpunk town. 1: greenery everywhere, integrated as if it is part of the buildings. 2: high grain, but balance. 3: a world of colour without grays, only warm colours. 4: look at the building on the left: high grain, small scale, low ceilings, ornament that does not imitate the past, cozy look. 5: flags, signs, and canopies add to the diversity, but the trees actually help instill calm in the composition by breaking that up. (This is completely opposite to modernism where trees are usually the only piece of colour breaking up a landscape of monotomy.) 6: when you get to it, despite the tall buildings the emphasis isn’t on them – they aren’t grand figures. The emphasis is on the smaller element closer to the viewer – human scale! 7: water tower, canals, being close to water, suggest living closer to nature. 8: the wires suggest a civilisation powered on electricity, 9: interplay of light and shadow, as the light reaches through the tree canopy – without the shadows, the light does not look as intimate as it does, and 10: the “tram” looks like an old vintage model tram, suggesting this is a retro-futuristic worldview – in other words, the imagery of the past with the technology of the future. Steampunk, for example, is also retro-futuristic.

    Of all images we have, I think this one best captures our concept, although there are others that work really well too.


    With the person in the foreground, you can see this is a much more intricate image – it sort of evokes a treehouse feeling. Look at how narrow that staircase is – it’s small-scale, it’s cozy. Without that bit in this composition, the entire feeling would have been different. Epic is not what we’re after, cozy is. Again, look at the colours, the variety, interplay of lights and shadows, and the sprinkle of plants everywhere. Also: taking to the skies/verticality is nice, and a handful of us have expressed interest in sky bridges as ways to explore verticality. I too like how this image clearly is meant to invoke that same feeling of trees, hanging over and forming a canopy.

    Worth pointing out because it is different and because of the way it sticks true to source materials: although the artist has gone with flatter surfaces, there specific details are spot on – look at the shape of those windows. The pillars may also be inspiring, although they take a more classical shape.

    used to be a market, but when it shut down the city turned it into a botanical garden


    Jen posted this. I’d like to invite her to tell more about it.

    The overall architectural style of this is more neo-gothic with strange oriental elements thrown in – which can be a good inspiration too, But there were two things we in the group cha really liked about this: first, the way it played with lights and shadows – it made us think about how we want to do the lighting in Solarpunk town minimally. The second one was how the buildings seem embedded in the rockside. We may want to do something similar. My thoughts on this: I’d really like to see a city that spreads through a network of valleys. The mountaintops of said valley would be outside of the city boundaries, meaning that the sense of enclosure is always there. Kind of like Vancouverism at that, where tall buildings aren’t built right on top of high points but always designed to be lower than the highest mountain of the city. For those not familiar with the Swiss Hotel fallacy: there was a hotel in Switzerland that wanted the best view over the Swiss mountains, so they cut off the top of the tallest mountain and built straight on it. When all hotels started doing this, the only thing the hotels had a nice view over was these cut-off mountains with other hotels on them.
    Is enough for now, but I do have more thoughts and ideas to share later. Discussion is open, share your ideas![/SPOILER]

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