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Public Clocks: Form Versus Function at 5th and Vine in Cincinnati

At the corner of 5th and Vine, in the heart of downtown Cincinnati (across from Fountain Square) are 2 public clocks that illustrate the eternal design question of whether to favor function or form.

The iconic TIffany clock greets visitors to the store on the northwest corner. The clock is held up by a carved rendering of Atlas, and is a copy of the original in New York from the late 1930s. It is impressive and beautiful. It is facing out from the canted building corner and so in a sense, is only visible to those heading (or looking) straight in to the store.

Across the street on the southwest corner is the clock mounted on the corner of the Carew Tower building (which still has an open observation deck at the top with spectacular views in all directions of Cincinnati, Kentucky and the Ohio River). The Carew Tower clock is mounted off the corner of the building so that the 4 faces are visible from 4 directions. It has a stark white face with black hands and so is visible from a distance. Note the wonderful deco touches on the bracket.

I love both of these clocks. But I know which one I'll look at, every time, even if I can see both at once.

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