Why is it that we’re so drawn to rounded architecture? Buildings like the Guggenheim of Bilbao fascinate us and even move us to tears. From the Gherkin in London, Al Wakrah, the 2016 World Cup stadium, they all catch our attention and mesmerize us. But what is it about these buildings that intrigues us so much? They are unnatural in that they don’t use straight, rigid lines like so many other buildings we see every day. This is a style that architect Frank Gehry has mastered. He has put his stamp on architecture and design in this area. He is best known for the Guggenheim design and the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Both show off the curvaceous design that makes us take a second glance.
Many studies have been done to find what is more appealing to us, the design with straight rigid lines or curvy architecture with soft rounded edges.
One such study was performed by Oshin Vartanian of the University of Toronto at Scarborough. Participants were shown hundreds of images of rooms with varying styles. Some predominantly curvy with rounded furniture and rugs. Other rooms were characterized by straight lines and sharp corners and edges. People were then asked to categorize each room as beautiful or not beautiful. In the study the rooms with curved features were more often considered beautiful than those with a more rigid design, and by a wide margin. But the study uncovered something much more interesting than that. When they reviewed the brain activity they found that when the participants were shown pictures of the curvy designs there was an increased activity in the area of the brain known as the anterior cingulate cortex. This part of the brain plays a part in our emotions. It’s hard to tell the reason that we are so drawn to design with curvature. Is it that we feel threatened by straight sharp lines? Is it because there is no such thing as a perfectly straight line in nature? We may never know.
So how do we incorporate more curved lines in our offices so that we can bring a little more beauty into our everyday work space? If you are redesigning an office it may be a good idea to use desks that are long and elliptical in shape. Or seating that is twisted. The Pelikan and Eeni, Meeni, Myni, Mo collection seating options from Luxmy Furniture are easy yet impactful ways to bring a less threatening and happier appearance to the office. The Hoop and Boulder make great options as well.
Although we may not know why we prefer curved lines over straight edges, we know they make us happier and more comfortable. That can make a big difference in any office atmosphere. If you are designing a new office there are tons of things you can do to incorporate a more curvaceous design. Anything from walls to furniture. Incorporate rounded edges and long curvy lines to reap the benefits of a beautiful office.