Conference Information



10-12 OCTOBER 2023


Click here for the Conference Program

Click here for the Program of the Post-Conference Tour

Click here for Bus and Hotel Information

“Ornament is not only produced by criminals; it itself commits a crime,” So said architect and designer Adolf Loos in his 1910 lecture-turned-essay “Ornament and Crime,” where he described the effort in designing and creating ornaments as superfluous and wasteful and helped to set the stage for the minimalist, stripped-down forms that would shape modern architecture and design for much of the twentieth century. More than fifty years later, postmodern designers rejected the strict functionalism of modern design, with Robert Venturi declaring, “more is more, less is a bore,” and Ettore Sottsass poetically describing decoration as “a state of mind, an unusual perception, a ritual whisper.”

 The debate over ornament—what is its purpose, what should it look like, how should it be applied, and is it even necessary at all—chronologically and geographically transcends any of these figures and is in fact as old as the field of decorative arts itself. Skilled craftspeople have been producing ornament-laden decorative arts for more than a millennia. Throughout the world, cultures have developed complex relationships to ornament, making it an ideal topic for ICDAD’s 2023 annual meeting. 

This year’s ICDAD conference invites papers that consider the many dimensions of ornament and its multiple roles in decorative arts and design. For instance, what is its role today? How have relationships to decoration evolved over periods of time?  What are its social and political functions? Does ornament enhance or obscure meaning and use? How do different cultures address ornament and decoration, and where have they served as a connector between communities? How does decoration function in global art history, and how might the approaches taken by artists and makers in non-western countries illuminate alternative relationships to ornament? 

Lisbon is an interesting site for this productive dialogue; a city marked by its centuries-old tradition of decorative tile as well as gilded and polychrome wood carving. Lisbon is also the home of present-day designers rethinking associations to material and aesthetics. The ICDAD meeting in Lisbon will take full advantage of this fertile ground, visiting significant historical sites and museums throughout the city and the surroundings while engaging with contemporary collections and makers. 


Click here to register for the conference and post-conference tour

Please note that there’s a limit of 60 participants. Registration will close when the conference reaches capacity. Register now to secure your spot.

The fee for participating in the conference (10–12 October) is 200 euros. Members who have registered by 20 August, up to the capacity of 60 participants, will receive an invitation to pay by bank transfer. If payment is not completed by the required deadline, the spot will be offered to the next member on the waiting list. You will receive an invoice first and a receipt afterwards. Any banking fees accrued from the transfer are the responsibility of each participant.

The fee for the two day post-conference tour (13–14 October) to Sintra and Coimbra will be 130 euros. Payment for this tour will be arranged in Lisbon, in cash. 

Membership Requirements

Please note that all participants must be individual members or representatives of institutional members of ICDAD at the time of the conference.

Find more information about how to become a member of ICOM and ICDAD here:

If you are already a member of ICOM, please log in to the IRIS memberspace and choose ICDAD as your primary International Committee:


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Questions and contacts

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Image source: CC-BY-SA 3.0, IPPAR/IGESPAR