“Curves derive their inspiration from the beauty of nature and the efficiency in [the design of] nature" - Sydney architect Tony Owen
Be it an exaggerated curl along the spine of stunning Turner Sofa, the adjusted hourglass figure of the Stevens Bench or the bends and turns of the Springsteen and Marley chairs, curves are a common, excuse the pun, 'thread' found throughout the latest upholstered seating collection.
Beneath the curated fabrics and bespoke coverings that envelope each frame lies a deeper story of luxury and comfort. One of the biggest chapters of said-story? The Curve, a design component with a long history of serenity and opulence.
Curves in design have been around for ages - from arches in Renaissance creations to the dome-like roof of a modern home. "King Arthur was said to have chosen the round table as a symbol of equality, so nobody sat at the head," notes writer Barbara Ballinger.
So what makes the curve so attractive, such a long-standing element of design? It could actually be inherent - as curves "create a feeling of comfort by mimicking the human body and nature’s organic forms," according to Elaine Griffin, a New York-based designer and author of "Design Rules: The Insider’s Guide to Becoming Your Own Decorator” (Gotham, 2009)
Researchers at the University of Toronto Scarborough recently put the natural affinity for curves to the test - seeing how the human brain perceived rooms filled with curves vs. those with straight lines and rectangular forms.
The results were on par with expectations. The study found that subjects were more inclined to classify the rooms with curves as beautiful.
"Oblong couches, oval rugs, looping floor patterns - these feature really got our aesthetic engines going" - Eric Jaffe, Fast Co Design
According to Jaffe and the research team, the anterior cingulate cortex area of the brain, one involved with emotion, showed significantly more activity in those subjects looking at curved designs vs. those looking at linear ones.