The science behind why we love beautiful things

Baptiste Alchourroun

There was a great opinion piece in the New York Times last week from Lance Hosey who wrote about the science behind why we love beautiful things. A lot of the things he wrote about I’ve heard before but he does a great job of speaking to so many interesting aspects of science influencing beauty. Certainly worth a read.

Certain patterns also have universal appeal. Natural fractals — irregular, self-similar geometry — occur virtually everywhere in nature: in coastlines and riverways, in snowflakes and leaf veins, even in our own lungs. In recent years, physicists have found that people invariably prefer a certain mathematical density of fractals — not too thick, not too sparse. The theory is that this particular pattern echoes the shapes of trees, specifically the acacia, on the African savanna, the place stored in our genetic memory from the cradle of the human race. To paraphrase one biologist, beauty is in the genes of the beholder — home is where the genome is.

Bobby Solomon

February 26, 2013 / By

The Paper Sculptures of Irving Harper

Irving Harper's paper sculptures 1

Irving Harper's paper sculptures 1

At the end of last year the guys at Herman Miller put together a wonderful series of videos called Why Design. Each one features a designer from the company’s creative network and they all give a fantastic insight into the minds of some very talented people. My favorite of the eight is with Irving Harper who talks about how he likes to make paper sculptures. Harper finds that paper is a really versatile medium and he says that it’s really easy to work with. “All you have to do is sit down, cut paper out, and score it, bend it, and glue it.” he says. He makes it sound like it’s pretty easy but once you see what he creates you’ll quickly realize that it takes far more then simple cutting, scoring bending and gluing to make work this good.

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Philip Kennedy

February 26, 2013 / By

Ursus Wehrli Organizes Everything

Ursus Wehrli The Art of Clean-Up

Ursus Wehrli The Art of Clean-Up

Last week, after several years and two talks about organizing art, Ursus Wehrli published his latest book The Art of Clean Up, wherein he attempts to organize… just about everything. Bowls of soup, a single pine branch, or even a sky full of star, it seems nothing is immune from his penchant to introduce order. His process (photographed by Geri Born and Daniel Spehr) is carried to absurd extremes, where flower arrangements are made into tidy stacks of detached petals and stems, convoluted train maps are turned into neat stacks of lines, text, and dots, and even type itself is broken down into useless stacks of lines and curves.

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Alex Dent

February 26, 2013 / By

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