Jan 22, 2008

Jagged Angles

Why do I prefer jagged angles?

Everyone has seen a rug with a curly flowered pattern, but usually I find that I prefer something both a little more and less pronounced. What do I mean by this? When something is complex enough, no part of it sticks out and yet it's wildly distracting in our field of view.

I think the mind understands jagged angles better – we're very familiar with a right angle, and we sure ought to be; we've surrounded ourselves with them. On the other hand every time we see a curve, at least in my mind, I can feel myself process it. Is it a curve that would fit in with a right angle? Is it steep or shallow? The complexity multiplies if the curve can reverse itself.

To be fair there are a lot of designs I've seen that use curves that are very attractive. What makes these designs successful in my mind is the limited style of the curves. Make them simple enough and they go nearly unnoticed at first glance, leaving no room for the brain to spend time processing them, leaving them as a sort of design accent and less of a primary design focus.

At the end of the day I think people are very complicated. From moment to moment and day to day we are very different individuals depending on situations, individuals surrounding us and the experiences we've had. With all that complexity in the people surrounding us (which is very important to our lives), I don't see the need for complicated furniture. Appreciate it of course, and how it serves you, but let slipping into the background gracefully be part of its service.

Like many things I suspect there is a healthy balance between the two, such as a couch with an angular pattern imprinted on it with curved arms and top for actual physical features.

Still, given one to emphasize, I know where my loyalties lie.


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