What is your emotional state when observing a circle? Is it the same as observing a rectangle or a triangle? Shapes covey a meaning that goes beyond the boundaries of language. They are the pillars of a visual grammar which, similar to its verbal counterpart, sways our mood on a subconscious level.
But shapes are not alone in offering a visual thinking process that delve deep into our psychology. Lines as well have a deeper meaning, with an endless arsenal of characteristics conveying to their viewers a variety of messages. Hence, the shapes and lines amalgamating your home are speaking to you, albeit in a non-verbal language, affecting your daily lives. Wouldn’t it be great if you could interpret the messages of the shapes and lines of your home?
Well, today we decided to offer you a lexicon for shapes and lines and how they affect your subconscious.
Circles, in every cultural form represent celestial bodies; the sun, the moon, the earth and the eternal whole. They have no begging nor an end, a complete shape that suggests unity and harmony. Their movement is not restrictive while their graceful curves can be seen as feminine. They are affectionate, warm and depict love and sensuality.
We are familiar with circular shapes, in the form of wheels, fruits or even balls. As they tend to hold in embrace their viscera, circles help bounce negativity, offering protection, safety and endurance. Their well-roundness is suggestive of perfection and moral integrity.
Hence, following their visual grammar, circular shapes in a home, will denote friendship, a caring and compassionate environment that promotes tender love. Since they are less common in the architectural design of a house, they can be used to separate things, emphasize and attract attention to a specific spot.
With squares and rectangles, it is obvious that their shapes are stable and trusted as we construct our homes with their representation in mind. As one can observe from the picture above, they have right angles which are synonymous to order, balance and rationality.
Usually squares and rectangles are perceived as earthbound shapes, suggesting a reliability, conformity and strength. The façade of most homes is designed after the solidity of squares and rectangles and bizarrely their common use sometimes can render them boring.
As for pyramids, they are depicting the geometrical shape known as triangle. If triangles are standing on their base they are a beacon of stability, while if up-side down they are perceived as imbalanced. Given this contrasting dynamic, triangles have a strong energy flow that can be suggestive of conflict or strength. Unlike circles, their strength refers to masculinity, while their use from science and religion is not coincidental as they convey progress, purpose and direction.
We have discussed the visual vocabulary of the most prominent geometrical shapes, so now we shall tackle on lines. Lines parallel to the horizon, have been dubbed as horizontal. As they are perceived to be resting, laying down if you will, they suggest of tranquility and relaxed comfort. Since horizontal lines cannot fall in their state, they considered to be stable and secure, denoting peace.
Their connection the horizon bounds them as earthly lines, acquiring a corresponding ideology. Given their suggestive calming and secure nature, horizontal lines will be great for areas in the façade of a home that is designated as a relaxed space. In the image above, we observe how the contemporary house has incorporated horizontal lines in its design, emitting a sense of tranquility beyond the windows, bricks and mortar.
Vertical has similar grammar for both lines and shapes. Unlike horizontal, the vertical is perpendicular to the horizon. This contrast gives vertical lines and shapes a masculine nature, suggesting strength, aggression and dominance. As vertical seems to expand from earth to the skies, taken in a spiritual context, they can give the impression of dignity.
When the lines or shapes are thick, they can be seen as courageous and stable. In general, vertical shapes and lines are considered to be strong and powerful, while horizontal shapes and lines are easy going and peaceful. The image above is an illustration on the dichotomy of vertical and horizontal in their character. The vertical part accentuates height giving to the house a sense of powerfulness, in contrast to the rest of the house that embraces a pacific charm with horizontal lines.
Curves should be balanced against straight lines. A line with a curvature is softer, while it connects two end points by creating a graceful arc. As they bend and change direction, soft curved lines suggest fluidity in movement.
Unlike straight lines, they are quite unpredictable and they are unfixed to certain point. Depending how active the line’s sweep is, it will appear more dynamic. They have a feminine nature, while they are connected to pleasure and happiness. As the house in the image above, the external curves on its façade create a random effect that blends energetically with the modern design and green landscape, attributing a fluid character to the structure.
Finally, sharp angled lines can be contrasted to curves. Since we have seen soft curves acquiring a female character with fluidity in movement and peacefulness, sharp shapes are masculine offering energy, violence and anger. Don’t they sound like a handful?
But despite their furious appearance, sharp angled lines can be seen as youthful and full of life. The house in the image above, is a perfect example on how the explosive nature of sharp angled lines brings a young and dynamic character to the façade. Modern structures that stir away from minimalism are a perfect match to the volatile character of sharp angled lines.
The shapes and lines that structure homes are the building blocks of a meaning which translates only to a subconscious level. Hence, by understanding their language we can observe homes with a different set of eyes and redefine them according to our own unspoken selves.
For more interestingly shaped architecture inspiration, check out: Fall In Love With L Shaped House Plans.