What Does A Carpet, The iPhone, And Today’s Workforce Have To Do With Ancient Design Codes?
by David Congram
There is a single line of design thinking that connects Pythagoras to David Adjaye, or even the iPhone to Da Vinci.
Sure, traversing thousands of years between the them, we make brief pit stops at the feet of Euclid and Vitruvius in the Classical period, Leon Battista Alberti and Johannes Kepler during the Renaissance, Viktor Rumpelmayer and Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright in more recent years and, yet, between each and every one of them there is an undeniable commonality to their collective output.
De Divina Proportione : An Ancient Tradition
Known as either the ‘divine proportion’, the ‘golden ratio’ or even ‘God’s spec’, the hidden code of divina proportione (that is, all elements of the design from the largest to the smallest of details subscribing to the 1 to 1.618 ratio – see above), has been the bedrock of architecture and design since 300 BC … and seems to be showing no signs of abating any time soon.
Known as ‘God’s spec’
We might ask ‘why?’ After all, in the business of constantly designing a better, smarter future, ‘why’ would the A+D community continue to follow design traditions that are, quite literally, antique? Don’t believe me? Well, I am not the first to notice the eerie similarity between David Childs’ 1 World Trade Center in 2006 and The Parthenon constructed under Pericles in 447BC. Looking beyond their twinned use as public buildings, both structures also participate in the same aesthetic traditions of symmetry, pinpoint-perfect proportions and geometric exactitude central to the ancient tradition.
And yet, while both follow the law of divina proportione, today’s experts of neuroaesthetics now suggest that the continuing importance of this ‘hidden code’ in design is due to its special control over our behavioural and psychological responses.
It’s a finding that gives a silent nod to its enduring relevance since the Classical Age, and to further highlight the significance to contemporary design – and not simply as an aesthetic function, but also as a commercial imperative. Look no further than in your pocket. The logos and icons of Apple’s famed products all follow the same hidden code of divina proportione – and largely as a result of Apple’s extensive behavioural research studies.
Psychology And Design: The Case of Apple
During the focus group stage of development for its products, Apple designers trial several different prototypes with end-users to track behavioural responses. Through years of developments, uniformity, simplicity, scale and proportion in Apple’s current product suite – mostly subscribing to 1:1.618 scaled dimensionality irrespective of product typology (phone, computer, etc.) – were found to generate feelings of calm and even in some cases pleasure for surveyed users. Doubtlessly leading to the creation of a user experience that feels intuitive, seductive, and inevitable (we’ve all seen infants as dextrous with the latest iThing as any Gen-Xer), what is remarkable from Apple’s use of the hidden code is the extensiveness of its influence. From the layout of icons across a screen, the size and form of the logo, and even the spec of the object itself and the stores in which they’re retailed, Apple’s belief in the hidden code characterises every facet of the user interface: a total design thinking immersion that is so thorough it is impossible to segregate it from the brand itself.
Apple’s famed products all follow the same hidden code of divina proportione.
Architectural Carpet Products Of Devine Proportion
Through a replication of shapes, a negotiating and renegotiating scale and proportion, what begins to develop is not monotonous pattern, but the sense of calmly determined design choices bestowing the invisible comforts of daily life (… sound familiar?). Meditating on the architectural history of the hidden code, Millennium Mxture and Txture infuse the best neuroaesthetic properties of ancient traditions with modulyss’ unique insight into the state and struggles of the contemporary workplace.
Millennium Mxture and Txture infuse the best neuroaesthetic properties of ancient traditions in carpet design.