Fig Structural Design Planned On Ratio And Tme Whirling Souape Pattern

fig.i37.back and side view.

fig.i37.back and side view.

is thus formed; while G' G E B form a whirling square similar to the two previously formed areas.

  1. Where H H' cuts the diagonal B D} we have point /. By drawing IV, the fourth square is created; and, where / /' cuts E C, we have a point locating the fifth square. This process can be continued theoretically forever. The squares would continue to whirl around the point termed the pole (the intersection of B D C E) but would never reach a point. It is an appeal to your imagination, but mathematically possible. For practical purposes, five squares are sufficient.
  2. According to the requirements of the problem and in keeping with proportionate relationships, create an isometric volumetric casing. Then, projecting upward from the auxiliary isometric plan, as at points A' B' C D', complete the volume, the mass-and-space divisions, and then add the thickness which develops the form, using judgment tempered by specific requirements as to heights. The rhythmic action of the squares will now be observed, particularly in Figure 137. The project may be of gum wood or veneered, with the grain pattern running in the direction of the major thrusts.

This is an interesting problem: A static area like the square may be given a dynamic patterning, particularly when used within a strongly dynamic volume. The rectangle A B C D may be used in a number of ways; for example, C F EB,B G'G E, EH' H G, I V H G are possible points for upward projection rather than the whirling squares.

Figure 138, the whirling-square rectangle in a vertical position, within its boundaries has a series of whirling squares exactly similar in plan to Figure 136. With the corners of the squares as points for the curve, a spiral has been drawn, with the distances between points bearing ratios of 1.618 to the preceding and succeeding points, and also the summation series of 3, 5, 8, 13, etc. The spiral constructed on this ratio is one of nature's curves, found in shells, fern fronds, and in a variety of growths. The curve, with its subtlety and variety, is considered the most beautiful of all curves, both in nature and in art; while the problem points out this ratio as one of nature's own proportions.

Psychological Aspects

The advanced designer may utilize geometric devices similar to the problem just presented, but eventually he will depend upon his own creative, unaided efforts. To aid him in these creative efforts, from time to time, we have brought functionalism to our aid as a starting-off point. Let us develop this point a bit further: Not only must our design be functional, but it must put the consumer in a mental state, leading him intuitively to feel that the object will fulfill its allotted objective, its duty.

Just how to do this depends upon the sensitivity of the designer to human reactions to desires; for it is his duty to satisfy these desires. Some human desires are natural and some acquired, and there is too much difference of opinion for a clear-cut and definite listing. Desires of interest to the designer include rest and comfort, a response to an organic need. The adult behavior response to a desire for rest and comfort is to find a good place for repose and for sleep. Again, furniture affording rest and exhaling a mental feeling that a man is going to rest comfortably, would not give the same feeling to a woman. Thus on Plate 19, Figure 139, is the design for a chair completely masculine and made for the tired man who drops into it after a hard day's work. The chair makes him "think comfort," linking functionalism and psychology in accordance with modern design approach.

In this chair and without reaching for a table, the smoker has equipment within his grasp. He may have difficulty in arising from the chair, but that small discomfort is more than balanced by his vast enjoyment; he may extend his feet and experience complete relaxation from the trials of our complex life.

In Figure 140, Plate 19, he has a low bookcase which may be placed near the chair; while books for other members of the family are arranged on another side, thus leaving him undisturbed. If he so desires, a screen, designed in sympathy with both stand and chair is at his disposal, tending towards privacy.

The desire to escape from danger certainly is a plea for good, sound construction, a leading tenet of the contemporary designer and a valid argument for metal furniture. Although the use of glass might be open to objection, particularly in a household with children, shatter-proof glass would meet this objection.

Two interesting and conflicting desires are the wish to conform with what others are doing and the desire to be different from others. In both instances there is a desire to escape disapproval of others or a desire for approval. There is a tendency to conform to what leaders are doing and to be different from those we consider to be inferior. Styles are much concerned with the desire to conform, shown by the growth in the demand for modern types of furniture, while the desire to escape criticism will keep many from adopting the new and adhering to safe traditions. Another strong desire is to explore the new, regarding the experience as an adventure, as indeed did the author of this book—an adventure into a new field of thought. You, as participators, will experience this thrill of a new adventure into new processes and materials.

The desire for play is closely linked with the new leisure; the recreation room and the playground are prolific in suggestions for new problems. The desire for cleanliness, while very clear in many higher animals, seems divorced from human society as a basic instinct. Cleanliness then must be the result of training, with the desire to escape from disease playing its part, and, in the growing child, the desire to escape punishment, often the reward back of clean hands. Modern

furniture, simple and dustless, with its removable and easily cleaned cushions, ministers to the desire for a cleanliness far superior to the dust-catching and often elaborate period furniture.

The desire for beauty has much influence in shaping human action and may be rated high as a factor in life, varying, of course, with different groups on varying social levels. The class of society in which we move has an effect on the desire for economy; but it can be said that modern furniture on a factory basis is moderately priced and may be made at small outlay, depending upon the materials used. The strong appeal of the modern style is its marked functionalism, its ability to do the job or several jobs well; surely an appeal to the economically minded person.

Clearly the results of environment and education, the desire to be hospitable is illustrated in Figure 141, Plate 19, in which the coffee table, also serving for a light lunch table or flowers, is gracious and welcoming in its curves, light and easily portable, and distinctly feminine in appearance.

The desire for cleanliness is linked with order. Frequently we find scattered in disorder four or five current books in which we are interested, possibly from the lending library or book club. It may be that school books are with this collection, books which are needed for hurried exits to school or for a few moments of reading. The general bookcase is hardly a feasible place for them; neither is the cluttered table. Why not make a separate compartment in the bookcase for current or used books, and thus emphasize system and order? A bookcase of this type is shown in Figure 142, Plate 19, with the closed and clustproof cabinet for less used books.

Unit Planning

For closing this chapter, there have been reserved two desires which deal with our contacts with others—the desire to be with other people similar to ourselves and to be alone.

The tired man or woman who drops into the chair frequently desires to be alone for rest and comfort, but there are times when the normal adult likes to foregather with others for talk or recreation.

For complete functioning of the desire for sociability, the modern living room is planned with its traffic lanes and parking places in which groups may be conveniently assembled for various purposes, and individual areas for the desire to be alone.

To gain space for these purposes, particularly in small apartments, and to increase the harmony of the modern room, it is customary to place the furniture parallel to the walls, with parking places made by assembling appropriate pieces still parallel to the walls. Figure 143, Plate 20, illustrates a suggested correct placing for modern styles, while Figure 144 on the same plate is the result of disorderly planning. Note the individual and group units in Figure 143.

To further orderly planning, designers are rapidly introducing what is known as the "unit system," whereby several pieces of furniture may be used as separate units or joined together quickly as a single unit. The chairs of Figure 143 may be used either singly or together.

Furthermore, many articles of furniture have the same height and depth but vary in widths. Thus, in Figure 143, the units against the rear wall may be a bookcase and a radio cabinet; assembled, they give the impression of one piece or unit; separated they may be grouped with other and similar pieces, as possibly a desk and a radio.

The advantages of this unit-assembling plan rest in the fact that it is possible to accentuate the major room thrust, to save space, and to establish order. In Figure 143, the major thrust is controlled by the rear wall, eighteen feet long. Two powerful, horizontal lines—the assembled radio and bookcase unit, and the lines of the couch unit—accentuate this thrust, establish thrust harmony, and make the room appear longer.

Space is gained, as is readily seen by studying Figure 144; while actually less furniture is used than in Figure 143, it seems more crowded. Order always gives more space than disorder. Where are the traffic lanes and parking places of Figure 144? Does not Figure 144 give the impression more of a number of people desiring to be alone, than of groups in social intercourse?

With the unit plan in operation, the scale of various articles in the room is brought into closer harmony. By making common denominators of heights and widths or depths of articles which may be grouped together, the volumetric casings are in better proportionate relation to each other. If one tires of one combination or grouping, readily and harmoniously another grouping or unit may be established. Thus sideboards, serving tables, men's dressers, women's dressers, bookcases, radios, desks are amenable to this treatment. By selecting a group of objects which go together, and by giving them common denominators of heights and depths, the inventive designer has at his command infinite change. In the units, he has strong, horizontal masses for room composition, space savers, and a logical simplification of the room equipment. It is only through modern design that the unit plan is possible; traditional furniture with its varied proportions is not capable of adjustments such as we have described.


Without color plates, to describe the uses of modern color is difficult, and so the following suggestions may be regarded as guides rather than as complete methods of procedure.

Contrasted with the delicate, anemic colors of the past, modern color is clear and clean, and has more strength than formerly. Black is popular but, if used alone, as vitrolite, as

Roori Volumes unit plan and

Mass and Space Divisioning common denominator .

orderly complexity two strong horizontals for thrust unity*

fig. 14-3. unit plano'^sp common SCALE denom--' inatoro furniture: balance * note common mass — thrust, and space«

Mass and Space Divisioning common denominator .

orderly complexity two strong horizontals for thrust unity*


a plastic, or enamel, or lacquer, it has a depressing effect. Black bands as accents often are the making of a piece of furniture. Black with white is startling but may be used by the skillful designer. As a background, black develops the brilliancy of colors placed in front of it. Black and the silvery gleam of metal, as gray (a tint of black), is interesting; while a silvery mirror frame, simulated by metals, is considered more in keeping than the former gold mirror frames of historic periods.

A large area of white should not be used with small areas of other colors; but, in small quantities, white is harmonious with other colors. Paul Frankl, in his book, New Dimensions, gives the following colors which match well: Red—white, yellow brown, orange Orange—white, red, brown, yellow Yellow—white, brown

Green—white, yellow, red, blue, brown, black

Blue—white, black

Purple—white, red, blue, black

Gray—all colors, including white

Black—all colors but not white

Oranges and yellows should be darkened a perceptible amount by adding gray; purple and blue should be lightened by adding a small amount of white. In other words, the oranges and yellows should be darkened toward a middle tone between white and black, and the blue and purple lightened toward the middle tone.

It is inadvisable to use equal areas of two colors: make one color control the scheme and use the other for accent. Small narrow bands of color are effective in full brilliancy.

Artists are agreed on the advancing and receding impressions received from looking at color; that is, some colors seem to come forward, others to go back. The cool colors, blue and purple, give the impression of depth; while the warm colors, yellow and orange, advance, with red and green maintaining a sort of middle distance between their warm and cool associates.

We can then avail ourselves of these relations to develop plastic enrichment. Paint the sunken or lower planes with receding color and the salient with advancing, while the intermediate planes may be in much-grayed red or green.

It is suggested that beginners use color with reserve and experiment with small projects like book ends. Small touches of color act as brilliant jewels in a room and are essential to its vitality; but colorful veneers, the reflections in glass and metal, bring color to the design often without further additions in pigmentary applications.

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