NEW YORK, NY —
As many kitchen and bath designers know, sometimes the best way to incorporate the “latest and greatest” is to tap into the past. So, what better way to punch up a design than to use principles featured at the Taj Mahal and Notre Dame, right?
These are the sentiments of Mark Rosenhaus, CKD, of Manhattan, NY-based Rosenhaus Design Group, who spoke to some 120 design professionals about the design benefits of Dynamic Symmetry this past July at the Häfele New York City showroom.
Rooted in the mathematical sequence known as the Fibonacci numbers, “Dynamic Symmetry” is the basis for a balanced design, says Rosenhaus. The numbers are a sequence of 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13… etc., whereby adding the two proceeding numbers equals the third number, and dividing the higher number into the preceding number produces 62%.
He offers: “Within the ‘Golden Proportion’ is a square with another ‘Golden Rectangle’ turned the opposite direction. A survey taken 130 years ago compared rectangular shapes [and] the ‘Classical Proportion’ ratio was preferred by 75% of the people! This proportion, I believe, is imprinted in our brain, and is the standard [by which] we judge beauty.”
He further adds: “Ultimately, ‘Golden Proportions’ provide the answer when distinguishing beauty from ‘very pretty.’ Dynamic Symmetry offers dynamics and movement, and beautiful proportions create balance.”
Indeed, Dynamic Symmetry combines balance with the movement of lines, as well as geometry and nature, ultimately creating a design that is not only appealing, but engrossing.
“When you use these proportions, you use shapes that are inherent in nature, and are inherent in people,” adds Rosenhaus, who’ll also be speaking about this at next month’s Kitchen & Bath Design & Remodeling Expo in King of Prussia, PA.
He continues: “At the age of 13, perfect proportions place the navel at the same 62% of a person’s overall height. I measured my son when he was 13, and he was [proportionate]. He was on ‘cloud nine,’ and I was vindicated – his old man was finally right! Between the ages of 13 and 18 the body grows haphazardly, so upon re-measuring him, we now say he has long legs.”
To that end, Rosenhaus cites “everyday” items such as pineapples and the spiral growth of the Nautilus seashell (which is emulated in the rotation of the stars in our galaxy) as examples that share the same principles.
He notes that the Taj Mahal is not only shaped within a square, but has diagonal lines that convey the entrance similar to stars in a constellation, which, in turn, highlights the focal point of the structure.
The primary principle behind Dynamic Symmetry is the Golden Rectangle.
The Golden Rectangle, which contains the 62% width-to-length ratio, illustrates how the “geometry of art” is inspired by nature, Rosenhaus says. “Golden Rectangle kitchen cabinets prove that unity doesn’t mean uniformity, and looking closely inside a Golden Rectangle will reveal squares in rectangles and rectangles in squares,” he adds.
Despite its unique proportions, Dynamic Symmetry does not require the use of custom cabinetry, he adds. In fact, any cabinetry or design theme can be used with Dynamic Symmetry – if used correctly.
“I recently designed cabinets over a sink that were 42"x42" with glass doors flanked by a 27"(W)x42" [unit] on either side. When the clients were told this is the same proportion as the Taj Mahal, they were awestruck to have their kitchen designed after a masterpiece,” he concludes.
The generating of lines is a critical element to the application of Dynamic Symmetry.
“The eye wants to be directed,” he says. “By using a combination of ‘Golden Proportions’ and highlighting major points of interest, it will reveal the pleasure of geometry in art. Generating lines draws major architectural elements together, similar to connecting stars in a constellation. It's like a ‘connect the dots’ for adults!”
To that end, he suggests using Dynamic Symmetry in upper cabinets, as well as in base cabinets. For example, designers can draw attention to base cabinets via the diagonals and lines created from the upper cabinets to the lower portion of the upper cabinet, or to the curves of the hood.
“You don’t have to have cabinets going straight up to the ceiling. You can vary dimensions, applying the ‘Golden Proportions’ [within cabinetry] both horizontally and vertically, while the negative space puts the entire composition into balance,” he describes.
AXIAL TO GRIND
Although axial symmetry is adequate for smaller objects, Rosenhaus notes that it can also make a design predictable.
“The original definition of symmetry was the balance of harmony and proportion based on weight or mass, while the modern definition has regressed into the idea of axial symmetry: a vertical line with two items equidistant from each side. This works with small objects, [but] it’s boring and predictable when it is too long.”
Lastly, he adds that Dynamic Symmetry can also be applied to master baths as an enhancement to wall or floor tiles or cabinetry.