If you have ever wondered why geometric shapes are an often re-reoccurring theme in the design world the answer is simple; geometry is the root of architecture and design, and therefore the starting point that we base our interiors around.
Image: Strong geometric styling shines in the Dubai Side Table from Leonardo’s collection.
A brief trip through mankind’s history sees geometric shapes recorded as early as prehistoric rock art and petroglyphs, some of which predate our known timeline. The architecture of the Greeks and Romans is well known for the use of rectangular shapes, while the buildings of the Middle East are famed for their complex repetitive geometric adornment.
This rich architectural history saw the use of geometrics being used in interiors as a counterpoint to the dominating shape and dimension of the building. Panelled walls, parquet flooring, architraves, moulded ceiling patterns and geometric floor tiles are all products of this timeless fascination with geometry..
In the 20th century, we witnessed Art Deco. Born from the WWI mindset of faith in advancement and technology, the sinuous curves and embellishments of the Art Noveau period made way for the strong geometry and stylised feel of Deco. Everything from buildings to jewellery; radios to ocean liners were influenced by this new take on geometrics and its cubism references. Deco was representative of everything modern, glamourous and luxurious. The name derives from Arts Décoratifs, and it was actually only in 1966 that the term ‘Art Deco’ was recorded in print.
Image: The strong geometry of Art Deco expressed perfectly in these armchairs and table design. Photo Credit: Frame Magazine
Deco is known as one of the first truly international décor trends but went out of favour at the beginning of WW2 with the rise of the strictly functional and unadorned styles that imbued the Modern and International Architectural era.
The global fascination for everything space related swept the designs of the 50s back into the realm of geometrics, and new developments in materials had a huge impact on design. It was an exciting and memorable time in the furniture world with mid-century styling borrowing heavily from the Scandinavian design ethic on one hand, and the free-flowing forms that plastics and composites made possible on the other. Laura Ashley and Biggie Best may have dominated with florals during the mid-60s and 70s, but geometrics made their welcome return during the 80s and really haven’t been out of favour since.
Now we have a better understanding of how geometrics have shaped our design history, let’s have a look at how we can use them in our home décor schemes. The core principle to remember is to create shapes and lines that are balanced and harmonious to the eye. Achieving this is crucial in an emotionally impactful and endearing décor style that is harmonious and relaxing.
Geometry and interior decorating may sound like two different issues, but where successful room design is concerned, these two topics are highly interrelated.
The father of the Modern Architecture movement, Le Corbusier, explained in his treatise ‘Geometrical Forms, Model and Space Concept in Interior Architecture, that anything is beautiful if it meets the two principles of (1) Proportional Geometry and (2) the mutual relationship between Form and Function. With this in mind, you will see that ALL design is a creative combination of geometry and materials underpinned by aesthetics.
Image: This mid-century inspired room shows a clever juxtaposition of flowing and strict geometry creating a relaxing but visually stimulating result. Photo Credit: Curbed - David Papazian
As with all interior design, how much geometry is enough? Too little and your décor may be one-dimensional, too much and it becomes visual clutter. The proportion, shape and dimensions of your room will be a deciding factor. This balancing act is crucial in deciding how to introduce geometry into your space and must compliment the architecture of the area you are working in.
This is important when considering adding panelling or a dado rail to your wall. Will it complement or work against any architectural features like arched windows or an angled staircase or ceiling angle.
Geometric elements can be incorporated everywhere and into anything, and the possibilities of how to breathe new life into a setting are as numerous and might be be confusing. Flooring, wallpaper, paint-blocking, upholstery, window coverings, accessories...the options are overwhelming, and combining different geometric shapes effectively takes clever synchronizing and a finely tuned eye.
Image: The interest in geometrics embodies Leonardo’s collections.
Look at your room from the floor up. An interesting tiled or parquet floor is a good base to build from and lends itself to the clever use of complementary rugs. Unless you are dealing with a vast area, avoid a boldly patterned carpet that will work against anything placed upon it and keep the eyes from automatically being drawn downward. It is easier to build on an interestingly textured neutral-toned carpet than trying to play down a bold design, no matter how interesting it may be.
Variations on the same geometric shape work well with upholstery and window coverings. The normal principle behind this is to use the smaller version of the designs on the curtains. This allows the eye to travel harmoniously from a focal furniture piece and through the room easily.
Add an extra pop of interest with a cushion-play of different geometric shapes and plain colours. Seasoned designers can pull this together effortlessly, but for us mere mortals, spending time with fabric samples and swatches will be crucial in the planning stages.
In many of Leonardo – Tables by Design's collections, the predominant style is based in geometry and repetitive shapes. This is rooted in our appreciation for fine architecture. We adhere to Le Corbiseur’s principles of proportional geometry; ensuring each piece is perfectly scaled for its use, and form and function in that they serve their intended purpose perfectly in any style of room.
Image: We are inspired by the fascinating geometrics that occur in clever architecture. Here architect Jean Verville explores a world where architecture, theatricality, and playfulness that come together with sensory perceptions that transgress the limits of three-dimensional form. Photo Credit: Studio Jean Verville architects
Coffee tables, side tables and consoles are the perfect way to add geometrics into your room. Set against a subdued seating backdrop they introduce visual interest, but can also help off-set a dominating geometric pattern when placed with a bold feature sofa. The balancing act comes in synchronizing all of the geometry-inspired décor elements to work harmoniously while avoiding rigidity.
As we have seen, the popularity of geometrics is cyclical. With careful thought during the planning stages, your investment can remain timeless with the simple addition of clever accessorising. This way you can easily embrace whatever the season’s trends dictate. The recent pairing back of prints and colours has also seen the renewed popularity of metallic finishes and angular shapes, making Leonardo’s table ranges on-point with professional and home decorators.
Image: Leonardo’s Bali Coffee and Side table – Woven with geometry and light.
In conclusion, I think it is honest to say that all architectural design and interior decorating ideas are rooted in geometry and, as such, will remain an integral part of our everyday life whether we are aware of it or not. I hope that this article inspires you to explore geometrics, and also see the history of design in a new light.
The Leonardo – Table by Design team are always available to discuss your furniture requirements and ideas. Add your individual stamp with our customisation service (available on most of our stock ranges), or create your own show-stopping creation with our fully bespoke service.
Wishing you a stylish month – Frank.
Image: A selection of tables from Leonardo - Tables by Design showing geometric influences