Y2DC was invited to refurbish the award winning venue MNKY HSE last year. The brief was to enhance the already successful design but to reimagine the upstairs offering a space that would function throughout the day and night. A space that was comfortable for guest to meet, drinks and/or party. Working closely with the team MNKY LNGE was opened last autumn. Since the refurbishment MNKY HSE has gone on to win London Lifestyle Award for: Lifestyle Business Award 2017.
THE GOLDEN RATIO IS TOTAL NONSENSE IN DESIGN. HERE’S WHY.
In the world of art, architecture, and design, the golden ratio has earned a tremendous reputation. Greats like Le Corbusier and Salvador Dalí have used the number in their work. The Parthenon, the Pyramids at Giza, the paintings of Michelangelo, the Mona Lisa, even the Apple logo are all said to incorporate it.
The golden ratio’s aesthetic bona fides are an urban legend, a myth, a design unicorn. Many designers don’t use it, and if they do, they vastly discount its importance. There’s also no science to really back it up. Those who believe the golden ratio is the hidden math behind beauty are falling for a 150-year-old scam.
What is the Golden Ratio?
First described in Euclid’s Elements 2,300 years ago, the established definition is this: two objects are in the golden ratio if their ratio is the same as the ratio of their sum to the larger of the two quantities. The value this works out to is usually written as 1.6180. The most famous application of the golden ratio is the so-called golden rectangle, which can be split into a perfect square, and a smaller rectangle that has the same aspect ratio as the rectangle it was cut away from. You can apply this theory to a larger number of objects by similarly splitting them down.
In plain English: if you have two objects (or a single object that can be split into two objects, like the golden rectangle), and if, after you do the math above, you get the number 1.6180, it’s usually accepted that those two objects fall within the golden ratio. Except there’s a problem. When you do the math, the golden ratio doesn’t come out to 1.6180. It comes out to 1.6180339887… And the decimal points go on forever.
“Strictly speaking, it’s impossible for anything in the real-world to fall into the golden ratio, because it’s an irrational number,” says Keith Devlin, a professor of mathematics at Stanford University. You can get close with more standard aspect ratios. The iPad’s 3:2 display, or the 16:9 display on your HDTV all “float around it,” Devlin says. But the golden ratio is like pi. Just as it’s impossible to find a perfect circle in the real world, the golden ratio cannot strictly be applied to any real world object. It’s always going to be a little off.
The Golden Ratio As Mozart Effect
It’s pedantic, sure. Isn’t 1.6180 close enough? Yes, it probably would be, if there were anything to scientifically support the notion that the golden ratio had any bearing on why we find certain objects like the Parthenon or the Mona Lisa aesthetically pleasing.
But there isn’t. Devlin says the idea that the golden ratio has any relationship to aesthetics at all comes primarily from two people, one of whom was misquoted, and the other of whom was just making shit up.
The first guy was Luca Pacioli, a Franciscan friar who wrote a book called De Divina Proportione back in 1509, which was named after the golden ratio. Weirdly, in his book, Pacioli didn’t argue for a golden ratio-based theory of aesthetics as it should be applied to art, architecture, and design: he instead espoused the Vitruvian system of rational proportions, after the first-century Roman architect, Vitruvius. The golden ratio view was misattributed to Pacioli in 1799, according to Mario Livio, the guy who literally wrote the book on the golden ratio. But Pacioli was close friends with Leonardo da Vinci, whose works enjoyed a huge resurgence in popularity in the 19th century. Since Da Vinci illustrated De Divina Proportione, it was soon being said that Da Vinci himself used the golden ratio as the secret math behind his exquisitely beautiful paintings.
One guy who believed this was Adolf Zeising. “He’s the guy you really want to burn at the stake for the reputation of the golden ratio,” Devlin laughs. Zeising was a German psychologist who argued that the golden ratio was a universal law that described “beauty and completeness in the realms of both nature and art… which permeates, as a paramount spiritual ideal, all structures, forms and proportions, whether cosmic or individual, organic or inorganic, acoustic or optical.”
He was a long-winded guy. The only problem with Zeising was he saw patterns where none exist. For example, Zeising argued that the golden ratio could be applied to the human body by taking the height from a person’s navel to his toes, then dividing it by the person’s total height. These are just arbitrary body parts, crammed into a formula, Devlin says: “When measuring anything as complex as the human body, it’s easy to come up with examples of ratios that are very near to 1.6.”
But it didn’t matter if it was made up or not. Zeising’s theories became extremely popular, “the 19th-century equivalent of the Mozart Effect,” according to Devlin, referring to the belief that listening to classical music improves your intelligence. And it never really went away. In the 20th century, the famous Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier based his Modulor system of anthropometric proportions on the golden ratio. Dalí painted his masterpiece The Sacrament of the Last Supper on a canvas shaped like a golden rectangle. Meanwhile, art historians started combing back through the great designs of history, trying to retroactively apply the golden ratio to Stonehenge, Rembrandt, the Chatres Cathedral, and Seurat. The link between the golden ratio and beauty has been a canard of the world of art, architecture, and design ever since.
You Don’t Really Prefer The Golden Ratio
In the real world, people don’t necessarily prefer the golden ratio.
Devlin tells me that, as part of an ongoing, unpublished exercise at Stanford, he has worked with the university’s psychology department to ask hundreds of students over the years what their favorite rectangle is. He shows the students collections of rectangles, then asks them pick out their favorite one. If there were any truth behind the idea that the golden ratio is key to beautiful aesthetics, the students would pick out the rectangle closest to a golden rectangle. But they don’t. They pick seemingly at random. And if you ask them to repeat the exercise, they pick different rectangles. “It’s a very useful way to show new psychology students the complexity of human perception,” Devlin says. And it doesn’t show that the golden ratio is more aesthetically pleasing to people at all.
Devlin’s experiments aren’t the only ones to show people don’t prefer the golden ratio. A study from the Haas School of Business at Berkeleyfound that, on average, consumers prefer rectangles that are in the range of 1.414 and 1.732. The range contains the golden rectangle, but its exact dimensions are not the clear favourite.
Many of Today’s Designers Don’t Think It’s Useful
The designers we spoke to about the golden ratio don’t actually find it to be very useful, anyway.
Richard Meier, the legendary architect behind the Getty Center and the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art, admits that when he first started his career, he had an architect’s triangle made that matched the golden ratio, but he had never once designed his buildings keeping the golden ratio in mind. “There are so many other numbers and formulas that are more important when designing a building,” he tells me by phone, referring to formulas that can calculate the maximum size certain spaces can be, or ones that can determine structural load.
Alisa Andrasek, the designer behind Biothing, an online repository of computational designs, agrees. “In my own work, I can’t ever recall using the golden ratio,” Andrasek writes in an email. “I can imagine embedding the golden ratio into different systems as additional ‘spice,’ but I can hardly imagine it driving the whole design as it did historically… it is way too simplistic.”
Giorgia Lupi of Accurat, the Italian design and innovation firm, says that, at best, the golden ratio is as important to designers as any other compositional rule, such as the rule of thirds: maybe a fine rule-of-thumb, but one that good designers will feel free to reject. “I don’t really know, in practice, how many designers deliberately employ the golden ratio,” she writes. “I personally have never worked with it our used it in my projects.”
Of the designers we spoke to, industrial designer Yves Béhar of Fuseproject is perhaps kindest to the golden ratio. “I sometimes look at the golden ratio as I observe proportions of the products and graphics we create, but it’s more informational than dogmatic,” he tells me. Even then, he never sets out to design something with the golden ratio in mind. “It’s important as a tool, but not a rule.”
Even designers who are also mathematicians are skeptical of the golden ratio’s use in design. Edmund Harriss is a clinical assistant professor in the University of Arkansas’ mathematics department who uses many formulas to help generate new works of art. But Harriss says that the golden ratio is, at best, just one of many tools at a mathematically inclined designer’s fingertips. “It is a simple number in many ways, and as a result it does turn up in a wide variety of places…” Harriss tells me by email. “[But] it is certainly not the universal formula behind aesthetic beauty.”
Why Does The Myth Persist?
If the golden ratio’s aesthetic merit is so flimsy, then why does the myth persist?
Devlin says it’s simple. “We’re creatures who are genetically programmed to see patterns and to seek meaning,” he says. It’s not in our DNA to be comfortable with arbitrary things like aesthetics, so we try to back them up with our often limited grasp of math. But most people don’t really understand math, or how even a simple formula like the golden ratio applies to complex system, so we can’t error-check ourselves. “People think they see the golden ratio around them, in the natural world and the objects they love, but they can’t actually substantiate it,” Devlin tells me. “They are victims to their natural desire to find meaning in the pattern of the universe, without the math skills to tell them that the patterns they think they see are illusory.” If you see the golden ratio in your favorite designs, you’re probably seeing things.
The house, built in the 18th century style of the Wallis region, stands at the entrance to the village of Ernen. This house has now been renovated by Zimmer Schmidt Architekten. Its particular location became the underlying theme of the spatial transformation: the house is now defined not only by its view over the Rhone Valley, but also by the densely built village itself.
View from the adjacent graveyard, photograph: Mark Niedermann
Working from the two separate holiday apartments originally found in the house, the architects have taken the location and orientation of the house in order to create a single holiday apartment that charms with its generously arranged living-dining-kitchen area.
Dining area, photograph: Mark Niedermann
Living area, photograph: Mark Niedermann
View from the kitchen, photograph: Mark Niedermann
A new, central body divides the individual areas of the communal zone: the living-dining room is on the one side; the kitchen on the other side features a corner bench and another place to eat. The overhead kitchen cupboards, the storage areas and the old fireplace all have their place in the new furnishings. The white surfaces add an accent in the interior, which is otherwise done completely in wood. To prevent shifting from the movements of the old floor, the fireplace has been clad with fire-protection panels attached with visible screws and then hung on the dividing wall concealed behind the spatial element.
The fireplace takes its place among the interior furnishings. Photograph: Mark Niedermann
Ground floor plan before transformation: Zimmer Schmidt Architekten
New ground floor plan: Zimmer Schmidt Architekten
On both sides of the communal area, the exposed log walls running from east to west form a dividing wall that shields the laterally arranged bedrooms and bathrooms. By repositioning the doors to the individual rooms, the now unnecessary openings can be used as niches and small shelving units.
Bathroom, photograph: Mark Niedermann
Bedroom, photograph: Mark Niedermann
In order to limit the palette of materials as much as possible, local sprucewood has been used for all new walls and flooring. The boards from the old screed floor have been reused and can now be found in the built-in fittings of the kitchen and bathroom. Thanks to their hardness and resilience, these larch planks make ideal work surfaces and seating as the corner bench in the kitchen. They have also been used as shelving in the bathroom.
Shelf in the bathroom, photograph: Mark Niedermann
Y2DC is now proud to announce their inclusion on the Dering Hall online marketplace. Here you will find the finest interior designers, architects, artisans, and design galleries to showcase their work and sell new, high-end home furnishings and accessories.
At Dering Hall they are passionate about design and broadening the audience for the best the industry has to offer. Their ongoing mission is to assemble a community of the world’s leading creators in one place and to connect them with other designers and savvy, sophisticated consumers.
They provide a roster of top talent with permanent storefronts, where they present a curated assortment of products to highly engaged shoppers. These customers, in turn, gain access to unique pieces previously available only to select designer clients. It’s an entirely new approach to furnishing a home—and one that makes hunting for that perfect bespoke sideboard a dynamic and enjoyable experience.
Buyers can effortlessly browse Dering Hall’s storefronts, search product listings, or keep up to date on favorite designers with our innovative “Follow” function. They also offer special Featured Sales as well as a range of compelling and inspiring design content. Welcome to the world of Dering Hall, from the best designers in the world!
From 18-21 March 2013, Design Days Dubai, in its second year, will offer exceptional rare design creations from 29 galleries, a 30% growth in participation over 2012. As well as being the only design fair in the Middle East and South Asia, Design Days Dubai is now the world’s most diverse design fair globally. By featuring galleries from all six continents, the fair has further established Dubai as centre of discovery and as an international meeting place for the world’s cultural community.
Design Days Dubai further differentiates itself through unique design installations, an enhanced public programme of workshops, talks, and mentorship sessions supported by the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, the Emirate’s dedicated authority for culture, arts and heritage, in a unique, custom-built location at the base of Burj Khalifa, Emaar Properties’ iconic development and the world’s tallest building, in Downtown Dubai, the city’s thriving lifestyle destination, billed as ‘The Centre of Now.’
“In less than two years, Design Days Dubai has become one of the world’s most diverse international design events, underscoring Dubai’s status as a meeting point for established and emerging collectors, gallery owners and designers,” said Cyril Zammit, Fair Director of Design Days Dubai. “Design Days Dubai has enabled Dubai to rank among an elite group of cities – London, Paris, Basel, New York and Miami – which host fairs specialising in both art and design.”
As limited-edition design becomes a more popular and safe investment both regionally and internationally, Design Days Dubai will feature never-before-seen contemporary works alongside vintage and classic design pieces from the 20th century. With a strong return rate from previously participating galleries, Design Days Dubai will welcome leading global galleries including Carpenters Workshop Gallery (London/Paris), R20th Century (New York), and Gallery Seomi (Seoul) as well as newcomers to the international design sector, such as Broached Commissions (Melbourne) and Galeria Mexicana de Diseño (Mexico City). The fair has also witnessed close to double the number of regional galleries participating, with galleries from Dubai, Kuwait and Beirut taking part.
New for 2013, Design Days Dubai will feature a focus on sustainable works with a design lab, as well as a wider ‘Bespoke Design’ section, in which four design brands will showcase their insight, skills and creations. Fostering the next generation of designers is the remit of Design Days Dubai’s mentorship programme, which is part of the four-day public programme of talks, presentations and workshops around current design issues.
The 2013 edition has again secured the generous support of sponsors including: the reputed French High Jewellery Maison, Van Cleef & Arpels, that will present a signature creative concept, showcasing many celebrated jewellery pieces that can be metamorphosed to be worn in more than one way; global property developer and provider of premier lifestlyes, Emaar; and leading German car manufacturer Audi; together with strategic partner Dubai Culture & Arts Authority. Design Days Dubai is a key element of Art Week, the Middle East’s largest and most diverse cultural event annually, which is set to welcome thousands of residents and visitors in March 2013.
Design Days Dubai – Participating Galleries:
Art Factum Gallery, Beirut
Based Upon, London
British Crafts Council, London
Broached Commissions, Melbourne
Carpenters Workshop Gallery, London/Paris
Carwan Gallery, Beirut
+Coletivo Amor de Madre, Sao Paulo
Contemporary Art Platform, Kuwait
Erastudio ApartmentGallery, Milan
Twentytwentyone Gallery , Beirut
Galerie Diane de Polignac, Paris
Galerie Sofie Lachaert, Tielrode
Galeria Mexicana de Diseño, Mexico City
Gallery Seomi, Seoul
Gazelli Art House, London
Industry Gallery, Washington DC/Los Angeles
J+A Gallery, Dubai
La Galerie Nationale, Dubai
Majlis Gallery, Dubai
Mariam Al-Nassar 20th Century Decorative Arts, Kuwait/London
Nakkash Gallery, Dubai
Perimeter Art&Design, Paris
R20th Century, New York
Salon 94, New York
Sarah Myerscough Fine Art , London
Southern Guild, Wilderness
Stilwerk Limited Edition Design Gallery, Hamburg
Victor Hunt Designart Dealer, Brussels
Design Days Dubai – Bespoke Design Exhibitors:
Design Days Dubai – Cultural Institutions
FN Designs, Dubai
Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum International Photography Award (HIPA), Dubai
دبي، الإمارات العربية المتحدة، 17ديسمبر 2012:تقام الدورة الثانية من معرض «أيام التصميم – دبي» خلال الفترة بين 21-18 مارس 2013، وستعرض خلال الدورة المرتقبة 29صالة من حول العالم تصاميم وإبداعات فريدة بجودة أخاذة، إذ سيزداد عدد العارضين خلال النسخة الثانية بنسبة 30 بالمئة مقارنة بنسخة عام 2012. وبالإضافة إلى كونه المعرض الوحيد المتخصِّص في عالم التصميم في الشرق الأوسط وجنوب آسيا، يُعدُّ «أيام التصميم – دبي» أحد أكثر معارض التصميم تنوعاً في العالم، إذ يشارك به حشدٌ من كبار المصمِّمين ونخبة من أشهر الصالات الفنية من مختلف أنحاء العالم، الأمر الذي وطَّد مكانة دبي كملتقى سنوي لمشاهير عالم التصميم وكوجهة للباحثين عن أحدث مفاهيم التصميم من حول العالم.
ويتميُّز «أيام التصميم – دبي» من خلال التصاميم التركيبية، والفعاليات العامة المرافقة التي تشمل ورش العمل الإبداعية والتدريبية واللقاءات الحوارية بدعم من «هيئة دبي للثقافة والفنون»، الهيئة المعنية بشؤون الثقافة والفنون والتراث في الإمارة. كما الهيئة الفنية التي تعمل على تعزيز مكانة الإمارة كمدينة عربية عالمية تساهم في رسم ملامح المشهد الثقافي والفني في المنطقة والعالم، كما يتميز هذا الحدث بموقعه الفريد عند قاعدة «برج خليفة»، أعلى ناطحة سحاب في العالم والذي يشكل عماد “وسط مدينة دبي”، المشروع الأبرز لشركة إعمار العقارية والذي يوصف بقلب العالم الحاضر.
وبهذه المناسبة، قال سيريل زاميت، مدير معرض «أيام التصميم – دبي»: “في أقل من عامين، بات «أيام التصميم – دبي» أحد أكثر معارض التصميم تنوعاً في العالم، ليساهم بذلك في ترسيخ مكانة دبي كملتقى دولي للمقتنين والمصمِّمين والقيِّمين والقائمين على الصالات الفنية، المخضرمين والصاعدين على السواء. وبفضل «أيام التصميم – دبي» وجدت دبي مكانها المستحق بين نخبة من مُدن العالم التي دأبت على استضافة معارض متخصِّصة تجمع بين الفن والتصميم في آنٍ معاً، مثل لندن وباريس وبازل ونيويورك وميامي”.
وبعد أن باتت التصاميم محدودة الإصدار تعتبر من الاستثمارات الآمنة والواعدة على المستوى الإقليمي والدولي، تتضمن النسخة الثانية من «أيام التصميم – دبي» أعمالاً عصرية لم تُر من قبل، جنباً إلى جنب مع أعمال كلاسيكية من القرن العشرين. ومن أشهر الصالات العالمية التي شاركت بالنسخة الأولى من «أيام التصميم – دبي» وتعود مجدداً للمشاركة في الدورة الثانية يذكر كل من:Carpenters Workshop Gallery (لندن/باريس)، وR20th Century (نيويورك)، وGallery Seomi (سول)، ومن الصالات التي تستعد لمشاركتها الأولى بالدورة المرتقبة Broached Commissions (ملبورن) وGaleriaMexicana de Diseño(مكسيكو سيتي). كما تضاعفت المشاركة الإقليمية في النسخة الثانية من «أيام التصميم – دبي» وسط تنافس الصالات الإقليمية على المشاركة، لاسيما من دبي،والكويت، وبيروت.
ومن أهمّ ما تتسم به الدورة المرتقبة التركيز على التصاميم المستدامة، وكذلك توسُّع نطاق قسم «تصاميم حسب الطلب» حيث من المتوقع أن تعرض أربع دُور متخصِّصة رؤيتها وإبداعاتها. ولصقل اللمسة الإبداعية للجيل القادم من مشاهير التصميم تشمل النسخة الثانية من «أيام التصميم – دبي» برنامجاً لإثراء قدراتهم الإبداعية ضمن البرنامج العام الذي يستمر لأربعة أيام ويشمل لقاءات حوارية وورش عمل تنصبّ على قضايا التصميم الراهنة.
وحظيت النسخة الثانية المرتقبة من «أيام التصميم – دبي» بدعم نخبة من أشهر الأسماء العالمية والإقليمية، منها دار المجوهرات الفخمة «فان كليف آند آربلز» التي ستعرض مفهوماً إبداعياً مميزاً سيسلط الضوء على مجموعة مرموقة من المجوهرات الأخاذة التي يمكن تعديل أفكارها بحيث يمكن ارتدائها بأكثر من أسلوب. بالإضافة إلى شركة التطوير العقاري العالمية “إعمار”، وشركة صناعة السيارات الألمانية «أودي»، جنباً إلى جنب مع «هيئة دبي للثقافة والفنون» التي ستكون شريكاً استراتيجياً للحدث. يُذكر أن «أيام التصميم – دبي» ينضوي تحت مِظلة «أسبوع الفن»، التظاهرة الثقافية الإبداعية الأكبر من نوعها في الشرق الأوسط، حيث من المتوقع أن تستقطب في شهر مارس 2013الألاف من الزوار من الدولة والعالم.
«أيام التصميم – دبي» – الصالات المشاركة
«آرت فاكتوم غاليري» – بيروت
Based Upon – لندن
British Crafts Council – لندن
_Croft – سول
Carpenters Workshop Gallery – لندن/باريس
«غاليري كروان» – بيروت
+Coletivo Amor de Madre – ساو باولو
Contemporary Art Platform– الكويت
Erastudio Apartment Gallery – ميلان
«غاليري 21 20» – بيروت
Galerie Diane de Polignac – باريس
GalerieSofieLachaert, – تيلرود
Galeria Mexicana de Diseño – مكسيكو سيتي
Gallery Seomi – سول
Gazelli Art House – لندن
Industry Gallery – العاصمة واشنطن/لوس أنجلوس
«جيه + أيه غاليري» – دبي
«لا غاليري ناسيونال» – دبي
«مجلس غاليري» – دبي
مريم النصار – الكويت/لندن
نقاش غاليري – دبي
Perimeter Design + Art Gallery – باريس
R20th Century – نيويورك
Salon 94 – نيويورك
Sothern Guild – جنوب أفريقيا
Stilwerk Limited Edition Design Gallery – هامبورغ
Victor Hunt Designart Dealer – بروكسل
العارضون المشاركون في قسم «تصاميم حسب الطلب»:
«أيام التصميم – دبي» – المؤسسات الثقافية
إف. إن ديزاينز دبي
جائزة حمدان بن محمد بن راشد آل مكتوم الدولية للتصوير
The pianomaker Pleyel and Peugeot Design Lab have developed a revolutionary piano. Although the piano pursues one of the classical codes of the world of pianos with its black lacquer finish, Peugeot Design Lab has totally reinterpreted the instrument by shaking up all the traditional volume, ergonomics and design codes. The greatest piece of groundbreaking ingenuity was to bring down the piano mechanism and align it perfectly with the pianist’s keyboard.
Peugeot Design Lab has invented a formal language that is unique in this sector and has created an experiential object. For the first time ever in piano history, the pianist can hear the sound of the instrument with incomparable precision. And, at the same time, the public can see the artiste playing from every conceivable angle. The pianist’s hands take centrestage.
Month after month the Pleyel and Peugeot Design Lab teams nurtured this extraordinary innovation which breaks new technical and visual ground in the history of pianos. Discover its soft, inherent silhouette, which looks like the aerodynamic hull of a boat. Ergonomically revolutionary, this baby grand piano also offers acoustics never heard before.
Focusing on Peugeot’s new identity and on Pleyel’s desire to establish itself in design and in the contemporary world, this piano harmoniously exemplifies the talents of both companies. By merging their DNA, the two brands have created a piano that is out of this world.
Inspired by Danish modern influences, the Aaron chair is sure to be a statement piece for any room. The solid walnut base cradling the contoured, comfy frame makes it breathtaking at every angle. With subtle curves and refined style, this accent can easily be paired with several different styles.