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"viewpoints" Tag


Criteria of beauty


Saturday, April 22, 2017

Step 0 | Question: What is beauty?

 

 

What is beauty? How can it be defined?

It could be an obscure question which does not have a clear answer. A topic of my first art theory class of this semester was just about it. The first chapter in Cynthia Freeland’s book, Art Theory: A Very Short Introduction was used and it also referred to aesthetic judgement of Kant. It has never been a simple subject for me, since there would be an enormous space to argue.

But a couple of months later, I happened to think of what is called “style” might have its own clear answer.

This idea made me feel a little bit better.

 

 

Step 1 | Dutch style aquarium has appeared as unknown territory

 


Work by Takashi Amano, the founder of the style “Nature aquarium”

 

When I got an assignment named “exploring unknown territory” in design class, I never thought about such a thing. As I need to meet a professional who inspired me to go in his/her context, I was simply looking for someone who I can contact in the Netherlands. In my mind, a specific genre of aquarium, Dutch style aquarium, came earlier than an idea of who to choose.

It is because an aquarium making was my hobby which I got interested in, few years ago in Japan. This aquarium is specifically called “Nature aquarium” in which you can create an “aquascape” resembling nature landscape by putting growing aquatic plants, stones, wood and little creatures like tropical fishes or shrimps in your tank.

Unfortunately I had to leave mine in Japan when I moved to Amsterdam, but I still had a little expectation that I would see a different type of aquarium. I had already heard the word of “Dutch style aquarium” even in Japan. Now is it time to explore it here, in the Netherlands?

 

 

Step 2 | The Answer from Dutch style aquarium

 


A work from category of Dutch aquascape in AGA contest 2015

 

There are two kinds of major styles of aquascaping. One is called Nature aquarium in which I had been interested since before, and the other is called Dutch style aquarium, the oldest style becoming popular during the 1930s in the Netherlands. The former has become the global mainstream since being established in Japan in early 1990s, but actually it came after the latter.

To know more about the Dutch style I tried to meet one of judges for a category of Dutch aquascape of the international aquascaping contest. Unfortunately it was not realized. Instead, I still could get a lot of information on the internet.

Though the most simple feature of the Dutch style is nonuse of hardscape material like stones or wood, the most interesting finding for me was the very detailed rules. It is very much specific.

 

It requires;
- well grown and defined grouping plants
- a small space between the groups
- clearly different height between the groups
- more than 3 plant species per foot (foreground / middle / background)
- terracing to convey depth
- rich contrasts (made by color variation, leaf height, texture)
- a focal point (emphasized by a red or large plant / by the effective use of the “Rule of Thirds” / only one focal point in tanks 36” or less)
- more than 70% of the floor planted
- imaginary streets / pathways of plant
etc…

 

You would also find that contest’s judgments are always given from an objective viewpoint, if a work fulfills the criteria mentioned above or not.

In my mind, these were immediately connected to the question, how aesthetics can be judged, which was discussed in the theory class before. If the guidelines of aesthetic, could be applied to even other things?

Then, I decided to try to make “beautiful” compositions by appropriating these criteria for totally different things.

 

 

Step 3 | Then, what can the criteria fit?

 

The first cutout with images from “SimCity” app

 

It was not easy to choose the objects for the composition.

I think I was caught too much by the idea of choosing a specific motif, which needs arrangements as well as aquascapes do. What came in my mind, for example, was still life painting, architecture or city planning. I actually have tried to make some 3D collages with these motives.

After some struggle, my idea eventually reached autonomous graphic compositions without any motives. It would be interesting to use things without any restriction, than to focus on a specific objects, since it has more expandability. What is more, I could not imagine the result and it simply made me curious.

How much universal could this criteria become? I wanted to make some studies to examine it.

 

 

Step 4 | Interpretation of aquascape language

 

 

To go on with this experiment, I deliberately applied some points mentioned below to my practices, choosing from many.

 

- Contrast by colors
the use of color highlights
black and white, green and red, positive and negative…

- Contrast by textures
fluffy, flat, glossy, mat…
photo prints showing different textures

- Contrast by shapes
curvy and strait, circles and angles
same shapes but in different size and height

- Focal point
A focal point provided by the use of above techniques
Application of the rule of thirds

- Imaginary pathways
Emphasis of the perspective

 

In addition to these rules, I found that aquariums are something in-between of 3D and 2D. I mean, it is actually three dimensional but the layouts are always considered from a fixed viewpoint. Traditionally tanks show only the front side and the other sides are totally covered. Photography always had an important role in showing it also. I put a camera in a position where I started to make each layout.

 

 

Step 5 | A result

 

Get the Flash Player to see this player.

 

In this experiment, I had already found that the goal of this project would not be to make an finished image but to try a lot of compositions as studies. What kind of results can I get from this? Is it “beautiful”? These kinds of tryouts are not completed in short time but should be just a starting point of pursuits.

Will it still continue?

dear city of Amsterdam..,


Friday, November 19, 2010

Hereby I introduce you to my proposal for the ‘Parooldriehoek’ at the Wibautstraat in Amsterdam.  It is the result for our latest design project at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy. For this project, we had to choose a building from architect Gerrit Rietveld as our inspiration before thinking about a new construction for de Parooldriehoek.

Below, you can read about my inspiration, starting points, development process and important factors in the translation process. I will also explain how my starting points eventually converted into the final design. Hopefully you get inspired by this proposal.

starting points and inspiration
Earlier on this designblog, I had already referred to the ‘Huis Singelenberg’ of Gerrit Rietveld that I specifically admire because of it’s simplicity, and the perfect balance between open and closed. I allowed myself to get inspired by this design for my proposal.

Gerrit Rietveld is widely admired for his timeless thoughts on viewpoints and placing windows. The choice of specific viewpoints was one of my starting points for this project.

The Parooldriehoek is situated at the ‘entrance’ of Amsterdam. Therefore, this place definitely needs a construction that welcomes the visitors of Amsterdam.
I tried to focus on the view from the road that comes out of the tunnel.
The goal was that the building is the first thing you see when entering the city. A landmark that can be used as a reference point.

(more...)

first impressions


Saturday, October 30, 2010

[comment by Aisha Fouad]

What really struck me of the Rietveld buildings I first saw is the way of arranging views from inside the building. Rietveld buildings have a certain lightness, a perfect balance of open and closed. Somehow they blend in with the environment and the surroundings, even though the Rietveld buildings are modern, concrete and often built with straight lines.

The Calatrava building I saw in Valencia was the Palau de les Arts Reine Sofia. Me and a classmate decide to walk in stead of taking the bus, and we were excited at first when we discovered the building from a distance. It became more and more impressive when we approached it. Then, standing at the foot of the building, I felt disappointment. The greatness did not work for me. The building made me insecure, like a monster that was asleep but could wake up any minute and eat me. It did not fit in with the surrounding park I think, or even in Spain. I wish I could have gone inside to experience the building and the views from the inside. Then I could double check my thoughts of the building and the surroundings, maybe I would understand it then.

I prefer Rietveld over Calatrava, I like the modesty that Rietveld radiates in his architecture (intended or unintended). Almost as if the open space within and around the building is the main subject, and not the beams and concrete walls. Calatrava's buildings seem more bombastic to me, almost an arrogant show off of what can be done in architecture. The building I saw was impressive but it did not fit in the environment at all. I felt as if it was designed first and then placed randomly in the city. Opposed to Rietveld, I did not feel or understand Calatrava's intentions with this building.


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