Where does beauty exist? The obvious response is art and nature. But as architect Don Ruggles, of Ruggles Mabe Studio, suggests during a recent keynote presentation at the Design + Tech Connection event, beauty is everywhere. It’s primitive, instinctual, subconscious, and, ultimately it influences how we perceive people, places and things. Beautiful things are approachable and instill a sense of peace and well-being — exactly how integrators want their clients to feel about their own technology designs.
As Ruggles pointed out during his presentation, “Beauty, Neuroscience and Architecture, Timeless Patterns and Their Influence on Well-being,” at the inaugural conference, held in December in New York City, there are proven techniques, traditionally applied in home construction, design and architecture that impact clients’ immediate response and satisfaction and foster an ongoing sense of health and well-being.
Sure, selecting and installing aesthetically pleasing components is a step in the right direction, but imparting beauty also boils down to the actual layout, composition and installation of the gear in relation to the design and architecture of a home.
You Can’t Argue with Science
Perception of beauty is driven by a neurological process in the most primitive part of our brains — the one ancient mankind used to approach comfortable (i.e., settings like a tree-lined body of water) and to avoid unsettling, uncomfortable environments (like a desert in a windstorm). These emotional, instinctual feelings were essential to survival.
But, over the course of millions of years, our brains evolved to enable modern thoughts, more rational in nature, though still secondary to that primitive section of the brain.
“11 million bits of information enter our ancient brain per second, yet only a small fraction of this is passed on to the modern portion of the brain,” relates Ruggles, as based on his extensive research on the topic of neuroscience.
“Have you ever experienced a room that’s unsettling, and are there buildings that you avoid?” Ruggles asks.
“Conversely,” he adds, “are there rooms and buildings you instantly feel drawn to and once you’re there, don’t want to leave?”
These similar feelings are conjured by integration clients when they step into their home theater or backyard fitted with AV, etc. Every space where technology is implemented can evoke either that positive or negative response based on the perceived beauty of the environment.
The Rule of 3s
You’d think that colors, textures, furniture, and finishes would be the main contributors of a beautiful home environment. While these elements certainly influence or perception, our ability to recognize pattern, Ruggles says, has a larger influence on our discernment of beauty. “From infancy, our brains specialize in pattern recognition,” Ruggles says, particularly 3×3 patterns. This formula has been applied in art and architecture that includes famous works such as the Taj Mahal.
A floorplan, a furniture layout, the room elevation, the arrangement of a tile floor, even the paintings on the wall all follow a certain pattern. The goal of a designer, says Ruggles, is to create patterns with these objects in a 3×3 format.
It makes sense, then, that homes constructed and interiors designed to illustrate a 3×3 pattern are thought of as being beautiful. Same goes for the design of a home’s technology. By applying the 3×3 design principle to the technologies integrators customize and install, their work will be perceived by your clients as not only useful and functional but also beautiful, creating a room people will want to go back to time and time again.
Where to Apply a 3×3 Pattern?
If integrators want their clients to love the space, they only need to add the application of 3×3 design principles to their work. Think about how home theater equipment gets laid out, for example. Do the speakers, screen and other accouterments create a 3×3 pattern? What about the relationship between the technology and the seating arrangement, room dimensions and other aspects? Does it follow the formula?
The layout of the icons on a touchscreen, the artwork chosen for a digital display, the locations of keypads in relation to other items mounted to a wall, the preset positions for motorized shades, the arrangement of recessed light fixtures and speakers.
The concept of a 3×3 formula can easily transcend to other parts of an integrator’s portfolio. And, instinctually, customers want and are drawn to these things.
By ensuring that technology designs are as pleasing to the eye as they are to the convenience, comfort and simplicity of people’s lifestyles, integrators can bring one more beautiful thing to a client’s home environment.
Another version of this article previously appeared on CE Pro.