Mental Space Monday: Is there really such a thing as good design?

Welcome again to another

Mental Space Monday

Where we look a little further into the beauty of interiors, mental and physical.

This week we are attacking the age old question: Is there really such a thing as good design? Now far be it from me to think that I can throw my hat in with the many who have stepped into this boxing ring.... but. Well, I do have a few thoughts.

So let me get one thing straight (ha! my name is so useful). Design is like food. It's like art. It's like music. Though everyone you meet has an opinion, I promise you there is such a thing as good design. There are general rules that have not been defined arbitrarily. Rather they are the result of much trial and error that have been refined throughout history as we learn more and more about how our brains work and what it is to be human. Don't believe me? Read a little more on the rules of good design from some people who are hard to argue with.

Of course, first and foremost, a key to what makes our eyes and brain feel as good as a foamy drink in a beach chair on a sunny day: the Golden Mean or  Golden Ratio. And what better example of its importance than the works (scientific and artistic) of Da Vinci. But also supporting the importance of this principle are mathematicians Pythagoras, Euclid, the astronomer Kepler, architect Corbusier, artist Dali, musicians Debussy, Chopin and so many others. It is so important that mathematician, physicist and biologist Zeising called it the 'Universal Law', finding the same ratio repeated in everything from chemicals to crystals including plants and animals.

Not only is this mean important to physical applications, it has been a core focus of many great philosophers on a mental or theoretical level. Aristotle believes it is the key to courage and balance in life. Plato believed this 'proportion' was essential to beauty and goodness. Confucius called it virtuous and rare.

So the importance of certain rules, of a specific relationship between elements is well established. It logically follows then, that in using those essential relationships within a space, that space will feel innately and elementally true. It is a chicken and egg situation: The space is innately correct and the space is aesthetically beautiful.

So, lovely readers, In closing I refer you in all my math nerd glory to the Transitive Property of Equality. Luca Pacioli said, “Without mathematics there is no art.” Mathematics is fundamentally based on a set of rules. If art is based on mathematics.....(A=B and B=C then...) art is also based on rules. Which means that if you don't do it the right way, you will end up with the wrong answer.

Paul Huizinga: "A good design can feel like something you have always been waiting for without knowing it." 

Edward Tufte: "Good design is a lot like clear thinking made visual."

So, yes; there really is such a thing as good design. And in addition, good design is not just about "picking out pretty things" - hey man, you can't argue with Da Vinci.

There's just a little food for thought on this

Mental Space Monday! 

Where we let our inner nerd explain the beautiful things in life.

Have a wonderful week.