Saturday, July 23, 2011

Oh Gee, Geometry 101!

...the branch of mathematics concerned with the properties, relationships, and measurement of points, lines, curves and surfaces...a shape, configuration, or arrangement...from Greek geometria "measurement of earth or land, geometry, from ge "earth, land" + metria, from metrein "to measure"...

Bedroom of Axel Vervoordt's Castle 's-Gravenwezel, Antwerp, Belgium
"Peace Ball"
Circle painting by Jef Verheyen
Interior design by Axel Vervoordt

I always look for basic geometric shapes, patterns, and arrangements to help ground an interior design concept.  It never fails to make things simpler and and invokes relief when asymmetry and curving lines are running rampant.  I find the simplest designs the most complex, and ultimately the most satisfying. Mathematics, as it was taught to me as a child, did not come easily. However, geometry seemed logical and I grasped onto the principles intuitively. 

Parsons Table
Home Decorators Collection

When designing a room, we start with the shape of the room.  Is it a box?  A rectangular shape?  Are the window panes in a grid pattern?  How are they subdivided?  Can we relate the architecture with what we put into the space?

Rafael Area Rug
Home Decorators Collection

Grids are always good.  A rug is a good place to start when designing a room.  

Interior design by Geoffrey Bradfield
Bradfield's New York townhouse

Artwork is another great way to inspire the design concept. I love the minimalist painting juxtaposed with the six apples on a classical mantel.  Geometry is the pure mathematics of points, lines, curves and surfaces.

Out on a neighborhood walk, there's a triangular street blockade looking quite comfortable out of doors in nature.

Mason Wood-Top Desk
Williams Sonoma 

This basic table, or sawhorse, gets translated into a desk.

7777 Old Bonhomme, St. Louis Missouri

This is where my accountant Reece has his office.  I always enjoy the feeling of being under a geometric spider web.

Table by Robert Bristow
Ralph Pucci International

 This subdivision of space mixes things up a little bit, allowing for more sturdy bracing.

Polyhedron Model
Restoration Hardware

I advised my Boston client to throw one of these on the top of her built in bookcase.  It is a form that has fascinated great thinkers for ages.

The pause that refreshes.

So go ahead, analyze your favorite rooms, and note the relative arrangements, angles, symmetry, shapes, lines, and volumes. Is there a nice balance of basic geometric forms with figurative and free-form?  A great room can always be reduced to simple geometry! 

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