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The Interior Design Reference & Specification Book by Mimi Love, Chris Grimley, Linda O'Shea

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05
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THE INTERIOR DESIGN REFERENCE + SPECIFICATION BOOK
Text
Chapter 5: Proportions of a Room
In the disciplines of art and design, proportion is concerned with one of the funda-
mental characteristics of shape: the aspect ratio of width to length. Signicantly, the
qualication of the proportion of a shape does not concern itself with dimensions.
When designers speak of the proportions of a shape, they are usually discussing the
relative width and length of a rectangle, but they can also address the proportion
of an oval, or even complex and irregular forms such as the proportions of a kidney-
shaped swimming pool. Most typically, proportions are considered when making de-
sign decisions about a series of related elements. For example, the designer should
consider the proportion of the wall space between windows as well as the proportion
of the windows themselves when designing an interior elevation. The relative propor-
tion of the shape of the wall and the shape of the window can be construed as a
more complex proportional relationship. Proportion is considered in two dimensions
in drawing and painting and when composing a plan or an elevation.
INFLUENCE OF PROPORTION
Rooms of Different Shapes
For interior design, the proportion of a space or an object is qualied by the relative length of
three variables: width, length, and height. The character and use of a room is strongly inu-
enced by the proportion of the space. A room that is relatively long, narrow, and tall is much
different in character than a room that is square in plan with a low ceiling. The relative propor-
tion of a room qualies whether a space is primarily meant as a path or a place. Square rooms
are the most geometrically stable, but are difcult to furnish and thus used for ceremonial
functions when large or as threshold spaces when small. Rectangular spaces with proportions
of less than 1:2 are the most common shape of place-rooms since they can accommodate a
variety of furniture arrangements and can be easily aggregated along circulation armatures.
Long, narrow rooms are typically circulation spaces, whether functional corridors or spaces for
processional rituals and ceremonies.
The pure geometry of a
square room can demand
a symmetrical arrange-
ment of furnishings.
A rectangular space can
be broken up into different
zones to accommodate
distinct seating areas.
The formality of a tall and
long room is ideal for both
work and entertaining.
SQUARE RECTANGULAR TALL
Job:02-30056 Title: RP-Interior Design Reference and Specification
#175 Dtp:216 Page:78
(RAY)
076-083_30056.indd 78 3/4/13 7:28 PM
05
Job:02-30056 Title: RP-Interior Design Reference and Specification
#175 Dtp:216 Page:79
(RAY)
Job:02-30056 Title: RP-Interior Design Reference and Specification
#175 Dtp:216 Page:78
076-083_30056.indd 79 3/4/13 7:49 PM
Text
79
mental characteristics of shape: the aspect ratio of width to length. Signicantly, the
When designers speak of the proportions of a shape, they are usually discussing the
sign decisions about a series of related elements. For example, the designer should
consider the proportion of the wall space between windows as well as the proportion
of the windows themselves when designing an interior elevation. The relative propor-
For interior design, the proportion of a space or an object is qualied by the relative length of
different in character than a room that is square in plan with a low ceiling. The relative propor-
tion of a room qualies whether a space is primarily meant as a path or a place. Square rooms
functions when large or as threshold spaces when small. Rectangular spaces with proportions
Long, narrow rooms are typically circulation spaces, whether functional corridors or spaces for
The pure geometry of a
square room can demand
a symmetrical arrange-
ment of furnishings.
A rectangular space can
be broken up into different
zones to accommodate
distinct seating areas.
The formality of a tall and
long room is ideal for both
work and entertaining.
Hackensack University Medical Center.
Photo by Steve Hockstein/HarvardStudio.com.
Tadao Ando, Morimoto, New York.
Photo by David Joseph.
Morris Sato Studio, Winterhouse.
Photo by Michael Moran.
Job:02-30056 Title: RP-Interior Design Reference and Specification
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