Objects exist because of their limiting forms created by designers. The form, right after color, makes for the diversity of DNA codes present in objects.
The form of an object is perceived along multiple dimensions. First of all, we see it and compare its similarity to other forms we already know; we gauge whether something is new or old, expensive or cheap, and look at its functions. Secondly, we feel an object’s hidden emotional message. Forms have archetypal features that we can sense almost instinctively because of their repeatability and ability to follow nature and reflect it in human works. These features are of the utmost significance as they connect us – people from different cultures, participants and consumers of the contemporary world, but also create cultural, social, and aesthetic communities. In the process of analyzing current trends in design, we paid particular attention to six timeless forms, three of which I’m going to present below.
A circle is, according to Lidewij Edelkoort, world-famous trend forecaster and researcher, a form that reflects the character of our times. Everything turns in circles, things and ideas return: we circle in the orbits of history in repetitive cycles. The form of a circle, figure with neither the beginning nor the end, symbolizes unity, equality and infinity. The feeling it evokes is the one of a constant return and the cyclicity of events to which celestial bodies – the sun, the moon, planets – are subject as well. The form of a circle “tenderizes” the objects’ reception, oozes the aura of harmony and introduces the feeling of peacefulness and safety.
Since time immemorial, there’s been a regularity in nature stating that the most effective division of surface into equal segments, with the least material used, must be based on a hexagon. Bees make hexagonal honeycombs to store beeswax; soap bubbles change their shape into a hexagonal one as soon as they touch one another. In human thought, this regularity has been present since approx. 35 B.C. A hexagon is logical and friendly; its advantages let people make progress in civil engineering - lighter and stronger constructions have been introduced and are now commonly applied in e.g., aircraft and space industry.
After taking half of the hexagon’s segments, we’re left with three which, if joined together, constitute a triangle – another very important form, imbued with symbolic meaning. In Christianity, a triangle symbolizes the Holy Trinity, while Pythagoreans – who believed that each entity in the universe had a characteristic number – revered number 10 in the form of a triangle – “Arch-Four” (with sides made of four stones and free space in the middle for one more stone). Furthermore, in the tradition of esotericism, a triangle pointed upward represents a man while a triangle pointed downward stands as a symbol of a woman. The connection of two triangles represents both physical and spiritual unity of woman and man.
Contemporary designers, referring to archetypal shapes developed by nature, are, as a matter of fact, using forms with which humanity has been familiar for hundreds of years. Because of that and thanks to it, we – users understand objects intuitively and naturally. In other words: the form is the power ☺
Text: Justyna Strociak
She has graduated from Industrial Design at the School of Form in Poznań. In August 2014, together with Magda Gąsiorowska, she became a finalist of Make Me! – a competition for young designers. Several months later, along with her four friends and at the invitation of Lidewij Edelkoort, a trendforecaster and observer, she went on a few days’ stay to the Trend Union’s department in Paris where she broadened her knowledge of current trends and ways to analyze them. In March 2015, together with Ewelina Rytel, Magda Gasiorowska i Aleksandra Kalinowska, she finished a Trendbook with design inspirations for 2016. The work on the book was supervised by Zuzanna Skalska.
As a designer I feel a constant need to observe events connected with the sphere of design. Thanks to it, I have a better understanding of people’s needs and I am able to more appropriately plan final versions of my projects. The knowledge of our everyday reality enables us to discover the so far unknown situations requiring innovative solutions, especially important in the world of business. Besides, information about trends may be of valuable significance for those who want to be more conscious of changes occurring all around us.
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