Title of the concept: Visualisation
Flipping through «Manière de bâtir pour toutes sortes de personnes» by Pierre Le Muet, published in 1623, what sticks out immediately are all the detailed illustrations. It includes designs, mostly floorplans and elevations views, for residences for all classes of people, from the most modest houses to luxurious mansions.
After the introduction there is a very clear structure in the first section of the book: on the left page is a text which describes the illustration on the page next to it. At the top of the left page is the title in bigger writing, the first letter of the description is artfully designed, which marks the beginning of a new pair of consecutive pages. At the very top of the left page it says “Manière de” and at the very top of the right page it says “bien bastir”. By dividing the title of the book into two parts and placing them on two consecutive pages the connection of the pages is highlighted, the pages belong together. The text describes the different floors and its measurements whereas in the illustrations on the right page you can see the floorplans or an elevation of the building, sometimes even both. The floorplans are rather simple, you can see the different rooms, their measurements and location but no furniture whatsoever. The windows and doors in the elevations are blacked out which makes it impossible to see the interior design. The last seven illustrations of the first section of the book contain numbers and captions which gives the reader more information.
In the second section of the book this structure changes: There are mostly illustrations printed on two pages instead of just one page like in the first section of the book. This allows for a lot more detail. The materiality is a lot clearer and added shadows give the illustrations a more realistic look. In the elevation views of the facades are openings which allows the reader to see parts of the interior design. The added perspective in those openings gives the illustrations even more depth. Little details like smoke coming out of the chimneys, plants growing in the garden next to the building or water pouring out of the mouths of the lion heads into the canal add a lot more life to the illustrations. By adding parts of the surroundings, for example the canal or the meadow, the context of the buildings is a lot clearer.
Keywords: illustration, description, structure