06 Jun Design for symmetry
As a symbol of romantic love a heart is at the centre of our emotions. We start to draw the shape early in childhood, its warm glow spells love. As we grow older the symbol signals different moods; strength, vitality, devotion. Some say that it was first associated with sex before it became the favourite for romance. Today the symbol is used everywhere; as ubiquitous in the home as it is in text-speak. I think we still find the shape pleasing, the heart is not hackneyed but lives on. We crave the comfort of the message it conveys, we enjoy its harmonious proportions, it has symmetry. There’s a sense of calm perfection in the achievement of symmetry. Symmetry is mathematical. Aristotle is attributed as saying, ‘The chief forms of beauty are order and symmetry and definiteness, which the mathematical sciences demonstrate in a special degree.’
Through the ages architects designed houses and drew floor plans to create symmetrical spaces; a building with walls of equal length, an even number of windows and doors, everything followed in sequence. When you look at some of our stately homes you notice this hankering for perfection. It was often a driving factor in their design yet even when money was no object it was difficult to achieve.
We can create small areas of symmetry with great success, but I know many people wish for a room with classical proportions, an even shape, with two windows the same size. Planners today don’t build houses like this and even if you live in an old house you rarely see a symmetrical room. As our children practise drawing a heart with two sides of equal proportions we appreciate their efforts. The desire for symmetry is deep-rooted.
(Image credits: KOKET – feature image, Finch & Crane – decorative hearts.)