pterosaurs meet the parthenon

March 9, 2011

Among the 30,000 or so visitors at the American Museum of Natural History last Saturday, I’m pretty sure I was the only one photographing pterosaurs for a design blog. Must have been that everyone else was actually there to see the bones!

I, on the other hand, have a paleo-obsessed son, and I used to live right next door. Ergo, I have been to the 4th floor of the AMNH 50 times if not more. So much so that one of Oliver’s little sister’s first words was “Rarrrrrr!” But we recently moved to Boston, so on this visit I actually had not been in about a year. Thus, armed with a new camera and a fresh perspective, I made my own dino discovery, which is this: fossils paired with classical architecture: amazing! Fabulous! Colossal!

There’s just something about those dark, slightly sinister, primitive forms set against an architectural style that represents the pinnacle of human enlightenment. It’s seems very Jungian to me – male versus female archetypes – or kind of yin and yang. (Yeh, it says “lofty musings” in my tag line, so don’t say I didn’t warn you.)

I haven’t quite figured out how to duplicate this feel in home interiors, but I’m going to try. Horns are an obvious choice, but they’re not quite as dramatic. Ammonites are nice, but they lack the skeletal elegance of vertebrates. Perhaps the next hot casino can afford to hang a true pteranodon in their lobby, but for the rest of us, real fossils are waaaaay too expensive.

Seems I’ll have to let this one percolate for a while to see how the inspiration plays out. But at the very least, it’s a lesson in the value of surprising contrasts. Don’t just stick a Greek statute next to a doric column, try a bone or a rock. Or… perhaps this is a great idea for a side business: lighter, less expensive dinosaur casts. Hmmm, guess now I’m the one in the family who has become obsessed!

mesozoic marine reptiles

megalodon jaw

Classical architecture + fossils + metal = even better! (life-sized outline of an Indricotherium, an extinct rhino-like mammal)

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