The Principle of Cladding according to Adolf Loos

“…he concluded that underclothes can be any color other than that of the color of skin”.

Everyone knows one the fundamental questions of architectural Modernism is the s0-called “truth of materials” but what about finishes that can’t easily be seen? Like using a faux finish to represent wood inlay in a high ceiling too far away to tell if it’s real or not.

From an “overtly passionate” essay by Adolf Loos titled: The Principle of Cladding, pub. 1897 Neue Freie Presse, Viennese newspaper. . .

Here’s the rule that Adolf Loos set up:
The principle of cladding forbids the cladding material to imitate the coloration of the underlying material.

Here’s what he had to say about people who break that particular rule of Modernism . . .
(I love this paragraph) . . .

But no, you imitators and surrogate architects, you are mistaken! The human soul is too lofty and sublime for you to be able to dupe it with your tactics and tricks. Of course, our pitiful bodies are in your power. They have only five senses at their disposal to distinguish real from counterfeit. And at that point where the (person) with his sense organs is no longer adequate begins your true domain. This is your realm. But even here – you are mistaken once more! Paint the best inlays high, high up in the wood ceiling and our poor eyes will have to take it on good faith perhaps. But the divine spirits will not be fooled by your tricks. They sensed that even those (wood carved) decorations more skillfully painted to look “like inlay” are nothing but oil paint. That begins the long-discussed and unanswerable question: who are the divine spirits that will not be fooled?