why all the rectangles?

why all the rectangles?

kenya hara is japan’s preeminent designer. you could call him their design laureate. he is both a designer and a design philosopher. for the past year, i have been reading his books. it is reading that requires concentration. it makes my head hurt. and i love every minute of it. i made this photo today, to illustrate a quote i underlined recently. (yes, i am an underliner. don’t judge.)

“Humans have designed their world in rectangles. We have divided the organic earth into rectangles, laying down rectangular streets lined with rectangular buildings. We enter these buildings through rectangular doors, and ascend and descend in rectangular elevators. Turning right angles down rectangular hallways, we open rectangular doors to reveal rectangular rooms…Why have we designed our world like this? You find very few rectangles in nature. The mathematics of four is not unknown in nature, but because the square is very unstable, there seem to be few concrete examples of it.”  ~Kenya Hara in Designing Japan

it makes one wonder. why are we so enamored with a shape that we probably did not evolve to appreciate?  hara thinks it has to do with the fact that straight lines and right angles are among the easiest shapes for us to create with the fewest tools. i wonder if it is simply that humans are more or less rectangular shaped, and we like to create the world in our own image.

  • celia says:

    And as humans we are ever-connected to our rectangular devices. At least our charging cables and power cords are wonderfully curvy!


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