Post 538  by Gautam Shah


Projects come to a Designer through many different channels. One of the simplest and obvious source is through a (user) Client. The client, in a very simplistic term is a person who pays for the design services. But a client may or may not be the person to own or use the entity to be delivered. Clients and Professional both need to have a right to initiate the relationship. The right to be a client, though fundamentally derives from the capacity to pay or compensate for the design creation services, it has many other facets. A person as a client must have:

1 investible resources or finance to execute a project; 2 a space or site as land or building for the project, 3 some form of experience; expertise or knowledge as to what the project is or know how to secure the same; 4 and an intense desire, aspiration, vision or motivation for the project.

Shop in the The Crystals in Las Vegas wikipedia image by Author Gryffindor

Clients must have a need for the design services. A project, which is fairly complex, requires some expert input, and must be handled by a professional. A client on own could have the qualifications or organizational backing to generate a design for the project, but may be circumstantially restrained to do so. Government officials and persons in charge of an organization as an employee must remain at ‘arms length where their positional neutrality can be questioned. Such clients must hire external or independent professionals.

flicker image by love2dreamfish

A client realizes the potential for a project when the assets such as land, building, money; and personal qualities like knowledge, expertise, experience; remain unexplored, or are not providing sufficient gains. In case of assets the financial adviser provides clues how to explore the situation. Personal qualities motivate a person to an activity to pursue. For the first set, the financial expert suggests the ways, and agency who can give a shape to it. For the second set, the person with knowledge, expertise, experience, will still need an agency to formulate the project. For both the cases the agency could be a project consultant or a designer. Financial advisers and project consultants are the largest referring agencies for designers. Next lot of design assignments arrive from designers of other branches of design. An architect would need services of structural, interior or landscape designer. An interior designer would have to depend on an architect, structural or landscape designer.

wikipedia image by Author Derzsi Elekes Andor

To initiate a project, a professional requires some prime information or mandatory data. The clients’ potential for a project, reflects in the nature of data, available to generate a design. Providing prime information or mandatory data is both, a client’s duty and right. A professional must get basic data like the nature of ownership or rights of access to the site, site identity, design requirements, nature and sources of funds to implement the design. A professional can get such data from other sources, yet to check out the capacity and sincerity of a client, the design professional demands such information during the first meeting. A professional relationship is initiated with handing over data by the client, to a designer. Provision of data by a client, is a token of job commitment and retention of the professional’s services. Provision of data to a design professional is a clients’ right. A client may exercise that right to control the cost (by appointing own agencies) and accuracy of the data.

Non specific groups as clients > Wikipedia image by Author Jaimoen87

Small individual clients, casually begin to discuss their needs and dreams. A professional must accept such submissions formally by acknowledging it in writing. Organized clients, with complex projects bring in a brief or project programme. Non specific groups as clients, like a statutory body representing a mass of faceless clients, may have nothing more than the assignment title and appointment letter to offer at the start of a job. Virtually no data is offered. Projects postulated by other professionals, come with extremely detailed brief.

Projects postulated by other professionals, come with extremely detailed brief. >>> Wikipedia image by Author Smallworldsocial Permission (Reusing this file)


POSTURES for Furniture Design – 3

Post 537  by Gautam Shah


Supine position is also a relevant posture for Bed Furniture

Postures are some of the body-positions we use to conduct tasks. These positions or postural arrangements may need additional supports, reach tools and transfer utilities. Such postural arrangements are fairly persistent, but could be transient. All body postures have few things in common, such as: the manner of gaining and exiting out of a posture, achieving a stable or consistent position, confirming and exploiting the gravity for stability and transit to another posture and accommodation of minor shifts to relieve fluid pressures and muscle fatigue. Postures, along with the supports, reach tools, and transfer utilities, projects a behavioural attitude. When a person realizes this, the posture is modified.

Wikipedia image by Author Olaf Köhler

A posture as a body arrangement is a utility, with or without concurrent facilities. It increases the efficiency of work, rest, expression and communication. Postural arrangements develop due to many reasons such as the traditions of tasks handling by the society reflecting the local materials, processes, technological developments, customs and manner of accompanying interpersonal interactions. Some postural positions are affected by the body physique or stature, age related disabilities, training, anthropometric variations and climate. Postural positions are adopted from one task situation to another, due to the habit and predictable results. Postures differ according to age profiles, gender of the person, experience and incentives.

Personal variations of Postural expressions Wikipedia image by Author BigBrotherMouse

The prime influencing factor for postures is the gravity. Gravity affects the posture in static, mobile, and during transition from one posture to another. The body is rarely in a static condition, some degree of dynamism occurs due to body sway, respiration, restlessness, repositioning to adjust body fluids, metabolic activity and perspiration evaporation. Nominally in a static position with head held ‘high’, the centre of gravity lies near the sacral segment (pelvic bone). Its location can vary according to body stature, age, and sex. It may shift upward, downward, or sideways with new position of the body and limbs. The line of gravity is directed downward, and if falls within the base or ‘footprint’, the person is stable, or else needs an additional support for stability. Body-fat, clothing, footwear, hand held or shoulder carried baggage and walking with someone are some of the factors that shift the position of centre and line of gravity. Such constant shifts affect the personal gait, bearing, metabolism, respiration and muscular-skeletal system.

Different postures on a Bench


Group behaviour is Largely detrmined by Posture allowed by Furniture

Centre of gravity and line of gravity have some correlation. A lower centre of gravity creates a shorter line of gravity leading to stability. A very low centre of gravity with a very wide body base, such as in case of supine body, very stretched out body (as on beach sands), or sitting in very low -deep seat makes it difficult to shift the body to any other posture. The reclining body has reduced energy usage, circulatory stresses are better managed.

Lounge Chair and Ottoman by Charles Eames (1955)

Visitors room, casual meeting cubicles, personal secretaries, peons, snack-bar attendants, who need to shift the body-positions frequently are provided with a straight back and slightly taller then normal height sitting arrangements. Elders, who have difficulty in shifting the body posture without a support, need a flatter, levelled and taller seat with full depth and slightly taller then normal hand rests. The same is partly relevant for seats on Metro and city bus systems. Seats are curved in width and depth directions. The width curve restricts sideways shifts, making the posture more fixed, whereas depth curve makes getting out difficult. Bucket seats as in airlines and cars have bends in both the directions, to restrict passenger movement and fully support the body against sway in case of accident. The body contoured forms of seat elements are rendered useless, when the seat, back or hand rests are adjustable like through tilting, compressive cushioning or seat height adjustments.


Direction of weave for seat furnishing fabrics are more accommodative (stretchable) in weft direction and are oriented width wise. To overcome this directional accommodation of fabrics for space-ship seats bi-directional, formed through knit-weaving. The fabric fibres are so formed-spun that cushions are not required to adjust the fluid circulatory issues.

Wikipedia image by Author Infrogmation

A proper posture, whether standing, sitting, crouching, squatting, kneeling, crawling, lying or sleeping, allows tummy to nominally remain withdrawn, even during inhalation. This can be done through training and exercise, but also by planning for posture in-out procedures. A bed that allows one to turn sideways to rise-up; a chair slightly wider and strong enough to lean on one of its sides to get out of it; a dining or worktable that discourage bend-forward sitting; paths or stairs of consistent passageways (visual, sensorial qualities and functionality, like colour, texture, gradient and side supports) where one need not be bothered about inconsistencies; are some examples that help provide ‘a tucked-in tummy’ posturing. A correct posture encourages good metabolic activity, which in turn determine the quality of health and performance. Both of these govern the stress the body takes.

Wikipedia – Flickr image by Author Nikki



Post 536 by Gautam Shah


SUN > Wikipedia image from NASA by Author NASA/SDO

Sun is a powerful source of energy as a result of its internal fusion reactions. Part of this energy is transmitted to the Earth, through space by electromagnetic radiation. The strength of solar radiation at the outer edge of the Earth’s atmosphere (the solar constant), is 1.37 kW per sqm. The intensity of energy actually available at the Earth’s surface is less than the solar constant. This is due to shielding effect of the Earth’s atmosphere, and also for the absorption and scattering of radiant energy.

Wikipedia image by Author Christian Thiergan

The process, climate starts with the arrival of radiant energy (radiation) from the Sun, to our planet. Energy enters into the precinct of Earth from many sources and in different forms. Earth receives electromagnetic energy from other bodies in space, and it also experiences gravitational energy associated with their masses. However the most significant of all, is the energy received from Sun.

Smog cutting off the Sun in Peking Wikipedia image by Author Berserkerus

During its passage through the space, the solar radiation loses little energy, but on entering the atmosphere it encounters molecules of gases, liquids and solids, Ozone and water vapour. These absorb radiation, but are affected by different sections of the solar spectrum. Ozone absorbs ultraviolet radiation, having a profound effect on the development of life. Water vapour absorbs an infrared sector. Gases and suspended matter disperse the incident solar radiation, into multi-directional radiation, some of which passes back to the space. In the visible spectrum the blue light is scattered to a greater extent than other wave-lengths, resulting in predominantly blue sky. Scattering by suspended materials is termed as diffused selection. The amount of scattering that takes place depends on the size of the particles, particle density in the air and the distance radiation travels in the atmospheric layer containing particles. Sahara dust storms can reduce the solar radiation transmission by 30% and causing a fall of 6.0C.

Earth energy budget diagram Wikipedia image by NASA

Atmosphere absorbs approximately 17 units of the total 100 units of the solar radiation. This small absorbed component (17 units) contributes to an increase in the internal energy store of the atmosphere. Of the remaining 83 parts, roughly 29 units are lost to the space by reflection, of which 6 units are lost by scattering and 23 units are lost by cloud reflection. The other 54 units are transmitted to the Earth’s surface, of which 36 units arrive as direct radiation, and 18 units by diffuse radiation through the scattering.

Wikipedia image by Author neuro + copyright holder of this image, Christopher Down

  • Energy sources and energy stores:                             Energy x 1020 J
  • Total annual receipt of solar energy by the Earth         54385
  • Energy released in Chinese Earth quake in 1976          5006
  • Combustive energy stored in Earth’s coal reserves       1952
  • Combustive energy stored in Earth’s oil reserves            179
  • Combustive energy stored in Earth’s gas reserves          179
  • Annual consumption of energy in USA                                 3
  • Heat flux from Earth’s interior                                               0.027
  • Total radiation from the Moon                                              0.006

Earth receives only 0.002% of the total radiation emitted by the sun, and, yet the Sun is the main energy provider for Earth. The solar radiation consists of, on average 7% ultraviolet (short wavelengths), 50% of visible wave bands, and 43% of infrared (long wavelengths) radiation. The radiation that penetrates the surface, is absorbed and heats up the surface. It evaporates the water, thaws the snow, drives the air currents, and causes a variety of chemical reactions. Earth’s atmosphere, oceans, and plant life are major collectors of solar energy.

solar radiation spectrum for direct light at both the top of the Earth’s atmosphere and at sea level Wikipedia image by Author Nick84

The Earth receives varied amounts of solar energy. At macro level this is due to diurnal exposure, solar flares and solar spots, inclination or tilt of the Earth’s axis of movement, and elliptical orbit around the Sun. Regions beyond 23 N and 23 S, are exposed to Sun only for a part of the year.

Wikipedia image by Author Muhammad Mahdi Karim

The upper surface of cloud is a good reflector of solar radiation. The amount of reflection depends on the degree of cloud cover, type and thickness. A dense cloud may reflect 50% whereas a heavy storm cloud may reflect 90% of the radiation. If there is persistent cloud cover, as exists in some equatorial regions, substantial part of the incident solar radiation is reflected back to space. Water surfaces have low reflectivity (4-10℅) and so are very efficient in absorbing. Snow surfaces, on the other hand, have high reflectivity (40-80℅) and are poor in absorption. High-altitude desert regions absorb more solar radiation because of the reduced effect of the atmosphere above them. The radiant heat received at a place or in a situation is related to the location latitude, altitude, cloud cover, and seasonal / hourly angle of incidence.




Post 535  by Gautam Shah



A built space is a conditioned entity. The conditioning of the space through various types of barriers endows unique spatial character. The spatial characteristics are environmental, sensorial and function or task oriented. The barriers are protective, directive, indicative, transitive and formative. Barriers protect by their configuration, position and occurrence affect all things passing by, touching, or going through them. Barriers by their body and shape redirect energies and energy laden (moving) objects. Barriers are physical presences and so indicate spaces and segments in it. and through the degree of transparency allow transitions. Barriers are formative, doing many intended and unintended effects. The effects are distinguished by the context or the surroundings where they operate.

Warsaw Uprising Polish barricade on the Napoleon Square build around German Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer tank destroyer Barykada



Barriers are obstructing and intervening entities in buildings and outside in nature. Barriers are effective as a surface and so changes distinctly different conditions on its sides. One must perceive ‘the non-change situation’ to recognize the change caused by the barrier. Barriers are often so extensive that the change or modified environment is not recognized. Barriers, as a result, are evident at the ends, edges, joints, thresholds, cut sections, or gaps. And as a result a built-form manifests at its openings. Barriers in built forms are conceived as an intervention to delay or condition the reach to other spaces.


Barriers condition the reach to the other spaces by their capacity to obstruct, absorb, filter, reflect or deflect not just energies and physical things but cause metaphysical variations. The metaphysical variates are indicative, unreal or make-believe. A society accepts certain words, signs metaphors, and indications as warnings, danger, caution, or permissible signs. Such indicatives in the form of taboos, beliefs, customs etc. derive from the accumulated experiences. Belief in God is one such indicative. The metaphysical variates are reinforced by their association to predictable effects. Certain spatial experiences are associated with specific forms, materials and environmental conditions. When one or few of these manifest, the barrier like effect takes place. Designers exploit such conditions to generate dramatic or melodramatic effects. The Make-believe occurs because we are conditioned by predictable responses of form sequencing, materials, textures, colour, illumination frequency and schedules of occurrence etc. Certain predictable effects, when fail to happen and a delusion occurs.


Notional barriers are indicative ones used for ceremonial purposes. Other indicative barriers consist of signs and symbols, which are effective if the users acknowledge and confirm it as a social behavioural requirement. Notional barriers are not recognized in a crowded area or in a chaotic situation. Similarly, where barriers are required as protection against unknown elements, notional barriers are not effective. Physical barriers demarcate territories, ownership and right of ways, but notional indicatives like presence of a person, smoke coming out of chimney, foot-ways or foot-prints, ashes of fire, etc. are accepted as indications of human occupation and possession or sign of trespassing.


Barriers need not be very extensive, persistent and with substantial change capacity to be effective. Some subtle conditions are good enough to effect the change. A small sensory variation such as shift in colour, texture, gradient, illumination, view, temperature, audio perception, can have profound behaviour changes, and are effective as barriers. The sensory variations are caused by spatial context, background-foreground contrasts, extent of field, exposure to the sensorial limbs, time delay or interlude, sequencing, etc.


Barriers consume energy to bar or control the exchange between its two faces. The barricading systems use energy to cause specific changes during the exchange process, and also to revert to the nominal status. These barriers are machines, or a live beings, if additionally can reproduce or self-sustain. Barriers absorb the forces like impacts and generate energy, ultimately dissipated to environment, or consumed for productive purpose.





Post 534 by Gautam Shah




Design as a word refers to an abstracted image of things created or to be created. Design is made of many metaphoric elements, but may or may not be a surrogate of the original. Design could be considered as a virtual bridge between non-figurative idea and theme, to a configured form. Abstractions included in design are forms of representation for elements, materials and views. Once a concept is configured to a design, it no longer has that ephemeral character. A design remains a representation with substantial content in the abstracted language.


FushimiInari Taisha Shrine-of-Torri > Wikipedia image by SElefant


A configured design has many limitations. The basic ones relate to sensorial aspects for which adequate metaphoric elements are not available. Design as a result relies on other forms of expressions such as scaled and angled views, scaled models, component mock-ups, full size pilots. The most important limitations of design expressions, at least from the designer’s point of view, however, are the inabilities to find a logical transliteration of subjective expressions of the concept. A designer may overcome this through improvisations in design development and frequent course corrections during execution. Of these, the first is possible, where the design creation relies on in-house staff and less on external consultants or component vendors. The second aspect is possible if only the design execution is (as a workable entity) within the organization (design+build practice per the American parlance).


Historically Design process has been projection view oriented, which over the period has become orthographic projection system. This later one allows true measurements off the view, except for singly or doubly curved and tapered or inclined object-surfaces. Modern day CAD aided tools break this anomaly for perception as well as production. Earlier ‘nonconformist’ and current day ‘deconstructionist architecture’ would not have been configured with Ortho projection system. Where drawn design, orthographic, isometric, perspective failed, the refuge was model making. It encouraged 3D sensing of the blocks, albeit at a smaller scale. Design models are more viewed from the top than at ant-level in absence of microscopic tube viewers. This results in several building that are well blocked, and with neatly designed terraces and silhouette, but a poor street level configuration.



In design, the surface qualities and material feel expressions are represented through metaphors. ‘To state a commonality, a metaphor goes beyond to a concrete or real world association’. The metaphors provide a comparison valid for certain class of people. A Design becomes a hand written medical prescription read by the pharmacist. A medical prescription however, can be printed but a design cannot be read by any other mode. A x- ray, sonography image or MRI scan, can be read and interpreted by expert, but not by a lay person. Similarly a design often fails to make any sense to the stack-holders unless explained through other modes of presentations.



The metaphors are used as bridges to things that are real and proximate and via ephemeral entities of past experiences or possible future encounters. A design with literary explanations is likely to be more metaphor ridden as it may use a figure of speech, image, story or subjectively comparable object for non tangible thing or ideation.


Prague astronomical clock (1410) by clock makers Mikulas and Jan Sindel > Wikipedia image by Godot13 (Andrew Shiva / Wikipedia / CC BY-SA 4.0)

These issues of design and its expression become far more acute as a design, instead of a recipe to build something (traditional material +methods’ specifications) has to offer only performance specifications or expression of requirements.




Post 533  by Gautam Shah


Fatehpur Sikri (Hujra-I-Anup Talao) India Wikipedia image by Author Daniel Villafruela



524 PRIVACY and INTIMACY as spatial behaviour


old-bathroom-1496578_640 - Copy (2)




455 The INTERLUDE (intervening space)



hogwarts-2172004_640 - Copy




383 HEARING and interior spaces

366 DAY-LIGHTING – in Interior Spaces

































SPACE PLANNING by Visual and Non-visual means

LONELINESS and Space Design

SPACE PLANNING -Developments



INTERIOR SPACES as Settings for Tasks

A modern theatrical stage of StyleNite at Berlin Fashion Week. Wikipedia image by Author Peter.Wetter


Post 532 by Gautam Shah


Screenshot_2020-07-20 The First Days of Spring


Reach is a way of knowing and acknowledging a space. By both the processes the space is ‘domesticated’. Reach is spread of the body limbs. It helps in physically touching, exploring, or seeking a support to be with an object or person. The reach in space is scaled by the body’s limb sizes, capacities and susceptibilities. Such a reach is physical and creates domains for occupation. Physical reach tools are either body-related or object-related. The body-tools like walking sticks, rails, support ledges or parapets, are closer to the body, functionally specific and styled as personal entity. Compared to these, the object-tools are objects themselves or attached to the larger objects or schema like nature, buildings, structures, etc.



Physical reach in space is amplified and modified by reach-tools. Reach tools extend physical capacities, and correct the limb disabilities. Throwing a stone, spear, arrow, rope sling, etc. to resist harmful things, leveraging with longer handles on axes, adages, tongs, staff, hammers, brushes, swords, and land-based activities such as ploughing, irrigation, harvesting, burials, handling fire and building structures have helped enlarge the ambit of space. Territorial conquests for food, safety and proliferation, were encouraged by capacity to move and travel. The difference between WW-I and WW-II is about the capacity to move and reach out. The conquest of space depends on how one wants to reach out physically or virtually. The purpose of reach to an object or person, has many facets like physically touch, explorative endeavour, support, sympathetic vibes or an exchange.

Accessible toilet Wikipedia image by Author Annasmith1986

Sensorial Reach is an extension of the sensorial capacities to increase or diffuse the perception. All beings have sensorial reach in space within certain biological range. Reach tools help to perceive things that manifest beyond these limited capacities. The reach tools like the listening cone was the precursor of stethoscope and electronic amplifiers. Microscope and telescope are tools that extend the edges of visual perception. Sensorial reach is attuned to the change, and registers the environmental effects in space.

Experimental Night vision goggles Wikipedia image

Sensorial reach defines a finite realm of space, but with reach tools the same reaches to infinite depths, and so could be immeasurable. The sensorial capacities are transmittable, so what we cannot see (fineness and distance wise) can be captured and enlarged, or defined in other scales (UV, infra or radio frequencies, or selective colour modification). Stars are not just observed through telescopes but ‘listened’ to.

Array of Radio telescopes at Socorro, New Mexico, United States Wikipedia image by Author: user: Hajor



Sensorial tools are also used for perception, expression and communication. So reach in space defines the nature and extent of social interactions and is measure how relevant a space can be. The social relevance of the reach in space also regulates privacy and intimacy of individuals and groups. And the same reach makes a space familiar, alien, aloof or crowded. But in spite of some degree of physical scaling by the senses, such a reach in space alone fails to configure it.

Wikipedia image by Author ISAF Headquarters Public Affairs Office

The reach in space connects the space users and space forming objects. The physical and sensorial distance between the two determine the interactions. The physical and sensorial distance between various objects that form the space have relationships through scale, proportion, environmental variations, affinity, equality-un-equality etc. The relationships or interactions between different space users may not be hinged to distance, or other reach tools. Crowding in a lift or public transport is not perceived with any sexual connotations, but a similar condition in other space could be repugnant. Reach in space marks personal area vis a vis public areas.


Crowding in Metro Wikipedia image by Author Richy

Natural reach capacities and reach tools together define domains and connections beyond. In case of built spaces, the barriers, like walls restrict the reach beyond that envelope. Openings, gaps, doors and windows offer such connections. But built spaces are also transgressed in both inward and outward directions. Galleries, Zarokhas, balconies, Mashrabiyas help inflate the space inside out, whereas Chowks, cutouts, etc. bring the space inward. Such transgressions bring the exterior closer to the interiors.

Reach tools Wikipedia image by Author Ben Schumin

Facilitation of reach in space, availability and use of reach tools all define a personal domain, a zone of regulated and selective participation. This is an area where one can reach out through projection (expression), channels of communication, physically (through body limbs) or stretch out with gadgets. Here the intimacy is regulated but it is not a private affair, unless some screening barriers are used to achieve the privacy. One can dwell in a culture or state formed of metaphysical elements (beliefs, customs, etc.), to achieve the same.

Chawri Bazaar Delhi India Wikipedia image



Post 531  by Gautam Shah


Conservation is a practice of continuing the present condition of an object. The present condition of the object, like artwork, artefact or a building, is due to natural influences and human machinations. The formation of the object as it exists today is an interpolation of many changes. The changes are so conflated that it is almost impossible to trace them spatially or temporally. Objects to be conserved are often so old that appropriate records are not available to define its conditions at different periods. Conservationists have to operate on layered past with multiple depths of affectations. And one may not know whether these were due to natural influences and human machinations.

Coventry Cathedral ruins Wikipedia image by Andrew Walker (User:Walker44)

Ideal conservation starts as a preventive practice to minimize further damage or deterioration. It means some influences must be terminated, reduced for their extent and intensity, or isolated as representative sample. Such exercises have undeclared motive to shift towards the original condition, which to begin with is an unknown or uncertain concept. Conservation work begins at two levels: the environment and the object. The environment can be modified by creating envelope or shield where the object is finite and can fit into shielding structure. Environment can be altered by macro-spatial intervention, such as effects of winds, rains, moisture, solar radiation, etc. Human presence affects an object, and may be controlled by barriers or spatial distancing.

Imprisonment buildings at Auschwitz Poland Wikipedia-Flickr image by Paul Arps

Conservation is interventions of some nature. Intervention is nominally intended to make things better, but conservation as a concept goes against it. Conservation is the care provided to improve a situation to relieve likely deterioration or damage. But as precursor to such interventive actions, one needs to predict, if this will at all yield a result. Interventions must remain retrievable or retractable. Actions that remove the cause of damage are preferred, than the removal of a layer of bye-product or past failures of interventive actions. Removal of such layers, may be necessary when these obscure or obliterate the identity of the object or its important segments.

Furniture interventive conservation Wikipedia image by Author Etan J. Tal

Interventive conservation often precedes the preservative conservation, or it is part of it. Interventions are inevitable where the object or the building cannot survive or stay in equilibrium. Temporary interventions such as supports or scaffolding disturb the perception of the object or use of the structure. Similarly interventions that generate make-believe or pseudo effects are not considered ethical. Interventive Conservation in spite of it being a circumspect action may turn out to be an act of restoration.

Buddha during conservation – restoration by Dr. Faltermeier Wikipedia image by Author Faltermeier



Post 530 by Gautam Shah


RYB MODEL Subtractive colors

The search for ‘truest’ or ‘purest’ colour has been a story of revelations. Some of the purest forms of colours have been available in nature, as flowers, body colours or spots over insects and birds. These were sought in applicable forms such as pigments and juices or dyes. It was realized from very primitive times that both the forms have distinctive applications. Pigments are good for wall-arts and juices or dyes are good for body colouring, fibres and leathers. Beyond this it was also known that pigments were comparatively opaque in comparison to nearly transparent juices or dyes. Primitive age craftspeople had typical understanding that very ‘pure colours shades’ were less lasting than slightly compromised shades. This realization was due to the fact that oxide and natural pigments were longer lasting or non-fading. A ‘richer’ shade of colour was sought by methods of purification or concentration through separation, grinding, washing, floatation, sieving, calcination or sintering.

Centre Le Corbusier, Zurich Wikipedia image by Author Absinthe.

Since prehistoric period it was also clearly known that richness of the colour lies in the contrast it creates with the nearby colour. Such an understanding of colour value is known only to the actual user of the colour and not to lay persons who can philosophize the effect. Realizations are not necessarily visual percepts. Through such attempts of definition first theories of colours began to emerge. Greek philosopher Aristotle related colours (as maintained in De colouribus) to the four elements: air, water, earth and fire. But then he was not a visual art practitioner.

Allegrain Etienne -Landscape with the Finding of Moses 16C painting

Nicolas Poussin Landscape with Saint John on Patmos 1640


“For air and water are naturally white in themselves, while fire and the sun are golden. The earth is also naturally white, but seems coloured because it is dyed. This becomes clear when we consider ashes; for they become white when the moisture which caused their dyeing is burned out of them; but not completely so, for they are also dyed by smoke, which is black. In the same way sand becomes golden, because the fiery red and black tints the water. The colour black belongs to the elements of things while they are undergoing a transformation of their nature”. -Aristotle’s realizations of colours.

574px-MANNapoli_9112_Sacrifice_Iphigenia_paintingSince Aristotle’s time such ‘subjective realizations’ have found little favour with the art painters. Their triad of colours was of Red-Yellow-Blue of pure colours or un-creatable shades. But for many years, black and white remained baffling ‘colours’. One could mix few colours to match a ‘near-black’, but the same was not possible for white or ‘near-white’. The ‘disappearance of colours’ on a flying wheel and perception a white was not yet logically connected to this perplexity. It had to wait for Newton to explain it. Many painters before 1600s have written about creating and using colours, their ability to consistently reformat the same colour and also their inability to reformat the same shade in spite of all care and documented formulations. Describing a colour was even harder than creating it. The writings fail on how to state a colour shade. Colours have had only metaphoric interpretations.


COLOUR palette of Monet : ‘Monet began an extensive series of bridges of all types and locations. He worked on nearly one hundred (known) canvases during three extended trips to London in 1899, 1900, and 1901. Monet made forty-one known canvases of the Waterloo Bridge. Monet painted the bridge from a far enough distance that many of its structural details are obscured. The structure was largely a vehicle for his primary interest in capturing the shifting effects of fog, ephemeral light, and reflections on the water. Monet used a vivid yet soft color palette of yellows, oranges, and golds on the bridge and other structures in the distance and complementary violet-blue and pink tones for the sky, water, and atmosphere. These dominant colors are subtly inflected with myriad varying hues to create a rich visual texture and make the brushwork palpable. He also created a sense of motion in the traffic across the bridge, the river’s current, and the trails of smoke from chimneys in the background. The fog in nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century London—tainted by extensive industrial pollution and taking on unusual colors and thicknesses was legendary.‘ —

Monet British Parliament

Claude Monet Waterloo Bridge Colour

Colour Preferences


The Red-Yellow-Blue colour triad was the painters’ logic of defining the colours as per the visual experience. Franciscus Aguilonius (1567-1617) a physicist disputed Aristotle’s theory or rather the philosophy of colours. He devised a better method of identifying and arranging the colours. Colour arrangement was of placing 5 colours White – Yellow – Red – Blue – Black, at the bottom, and mixes of these forming the riser. He included the Red, Yellow and Blue which became the forerunner of other systems that function in a similar way. This was a chart, and not a colour wheel.

Wikipedia image > Goethe’s symmetric colour wheel with associated symbolic qualities (1809)


From Wikipedia

Aron Sigfrid Forsius (1611), a Finnish born astrologer, priest and neo-Platonist, and contemporary of Franciscus Aguilonius, derived a drawn colour arrangement with five main colours: Red, Yellow, Green, Blue and Grey, all placed for their affinity to Black or White. This, however, was going to change some 60 years later. In 1672, Newton showed the optical quality of colours, as a spectrum of seven colours. This was very different from earlier attempts of visual gradations of colours. This interpretation was challenged, by Goethe in the ‘Theory of Colours’ (1810). For him it was important to understand the human reaction to colour, compared with Newton’s science supported explanation. But at that time there were few takers for it. Newton first divided the spectrum in five main colours red, yellow, green, blue and violet but later included orange and indigo, to analogize with the seven notes in a musical scale, and perhaps the solar system, and days of the week.

A linear representation of the visible light spectrum wikipedia image by Author Gringer

Richard Waller in Stockholm published a list of 119 colours arranged from ‘dark to light shades’ in seven columns each topping with a basic colour. Jacob Christian Schäffer a German a natural historian and inventor wanted some standard format (Table of physiological colours, mixed and Simple, in 1686) that would permit unambiguous descriptions of the colours of natural bodies. This was the beginning of naming, identifying and graphically specifying the colours.

probably Claude Boutet’s 7-color and 12-color color circles Wikipedia image



One major mis-perception that has built up is that colour models are circular like a disk, sphere or cylinder. The colours are divided into 7 zones of spectrum, which is rather similar to the Musical notes ( also divided into 7 sections). Both are illogical scales. The colour spectrum and musical notes are always in linear or a strip form, where the ends never touch, or create a sense of proximity. These belies the concept of opposite or complimentary colours. The perceived or “theoretical” affinities are not the reality, though all sorts of “scientific” proofs are attached. Perhaps, some day some-one will offer a plausible explanation about such affinities.




Post 529 –by Gautam Shah



profession of thatching is learned through apprenticeship in Germany Wikipedia image by Author Joachim Müllerchen


Craft has been considered an activity involving skills of making things by hand. The use of hand and the output product have been collectively called the handiwork. Where the products reflect the creative crafting, it is called a handicraft.  have existed from very ancient The process of doing things by hand has THREE essential facets, One: converting the raw material, and Two: processing (crafting) it into a product. Three:  Redefining tools for the material, product to be designed and experience through the process. Such distinctive identifications, perhaps in terms of persons handling it,times, One person’s product was another inspiration to intervene and innovate. The material producer and the object manufacturer, both used their hand-skills and experience for making things. With experience not only the materials but resultant products continued to evolve. The handicraft has been synonymous with an effort where the material and forming processes offer a seamless sense of creativity. This perception, over the years has grown stronger. And the Craft has been considered an activity involving skills of making things by hand. Purists have felt that craft cannot be but by hand.


Indus Priest/King Statue 175mm carved from steatite or soapstone from Mohenjo-daro Now in National Museum, Karachi, Pakistan Wikipedia image / Source by Author Mamoon Mengal

Since ancient times the crafts person could not afford to spend time and resources to scout materials and further process it. This created a situation of mutual dependencies as well as a sense of value. Metal ores and other minerals need to be searched, collected, refined and sintered or smelted. Similarly stones require mining, dressing and transportation before could be used for construction. Fibers like cotton, hemp or linen, all need several different grades of processing, spinning before could be used for fabric-crafts. Material procuring and processing allowed production of raw materials that are used for different crafts. There were several layers of material processes, and each handled by different set of people in different regions. There was a time the material producer and the user or the craft’s people were directly linked, but soon the traders became the agents.


Leopold Reichling prehistoric collection Wikipedia image by Author PlayMistyForMe

The raw material processing is production, and was not qualified as craft work. Historically material processing was ‘hand-work’, but the output products though innovative as a range, was not necessarily creative at individual level. Craft has had many different interpretations over the ages and in instances across societies and cultures. A crafted item ends with the user or the connoisseur. This link remained very strong for several centuries, but somewhere the craftsmen began to rely on traders to market the craft-products. There were yet many ‘living-crafts’ that were useful as part of living, but not a deliverable product. These were life-style things that were important as the process of creation, such as the craft of building dwellings, public structures, farming cooking, building, painting, etc. Here the hand-skills of the creator, improvisations and deliverance were important.


Crafts gained a sharper meaning with emergence of Guilds in medieval period. The guilds were formed to protect the tradition where the craftsmen designed, executed and traded the work. Guilds were able to do this by suppressing internal competition, but more by focusing on their regional exclusivity. The regional exclusivity of a guild gave rise to folk-craft of the place. A folk-craft had TWO strong characteristics, exclusive access to processed raw materials, and restricted training of skills within the family or clan through ‘close-door’ apprenticeship. Raw materials were supplied by traders across regions, but the secondary processing was local, in terms of the tools, techniques and materials used. This was ardently supported by local crafts-people, through their clan or guild.

Saint Eligius in his Gold-smithy workshop Wikipedia image by Master of Balaam (fl. circa 1440–1550)

During medieval period the consumers or the connoisseurs also knew the value of exclusivity of the crafted product. The monetary value and pride for the local but exclusive items were immense. Crafts became branded with regions, cities or towns of origin, as much as with the identity of the crafts person and craft centre. The connoisseurs also established their production units. The production was designed for single commission for a specific user, or sometimes in batches with minor variations. The creations were ‘craft-products’ because it involved use of individual skills, had scope of improvisation and it did not use many “automated” processes.

Craftsman selling Cases by a teak wood building Ahmedabad Wikipedia image Painting by Edwin Lord Weeks (1849-1903)


In modern times we have access to many automated tools and equipment to do things far more efficiently and creatively. These facilities are used in two distinct ways. In pre-industrial age the use was in batch processing. Each batch and tasks within it, were amenable to innovations. During industrial age and thereafter, continuous or on-line production set-ups emerged. These arrangements required jigs, dies and other fixed facilities with specific tooling. The continuous productions allow very minor changes or improvisations in production style. These were than not considered craft items. Such dialogues were occurring mainly due to the Arts and Crafts movement of the times. It was perceived that an industrial product or use of machines to format it, dilutes the essence of craft.

Chocolatier preparing Easter eggs and rabbits Wikipedia image by Author Oriel