Blog Links on FLOORS and FLOORINGS

Post 626 –by Gautam Shah


These are few links on Blog articles relating to Floors, Floorings, Patterns, Colours, Joints, and Finishes


Floorings, by virtue of their sheer extent are the most effective components of interior space definition. Floorings are important for visual and tactual appeal. Floorings are visually perceptible because the common sources of natural and other illuminations are from the top. Tactile appeal emerges when visual details of the floorings are not registered….’


FLOORINGS (March 2016) >


FLOOR PAINTS (March 2015) >


ROOFS and FLOORS (July 2014) >




GLOSS (Sept 2014) >




Post 625 –by Gautam Shah


Electric Kettles by Peter Behrens --Industrial Craft

Craft derives from cræft or -creft meaning something to do or execute with physical strength, might, and prowess (a talent of mental and physical power). Other usage versions (include krab, kraf, kreft, chraft, Kraft, kraptr) relate to something built, made or devised using skill, virtue, dexterity and art. Before the Industrial revolution, the personal strength and prowess (mental talent) were key requirements for creative effort. The crafts were called handicrafts.


Apprentice of Shoe maker 1914 > Wikipedia image

The physical strength required to make things were reduced with the leverage provided by better tools, use of animal power, and rational use of materials. In the First case, tools had calibrated arm lengths, functional shape for handles, harder (or softer) surfaces for desired impact, specific versions tailored for tasks, and rational composition of materials. Over a time, crafts were articulated not by sheer strength, but by mental prowess. Handicrafts became artefacts. The hand and the mind remained the basis for craft for long time. In the Second instance labourious jobs like lifting, pushing and transporting, were done with animal power and pulleys. The animal power offered rudimentary sense of automation to many production processes. In the Third instance, the capacity to search around for quality raw materials and expertise to refine and upgrade the raw materials, crafts offered the objects that were thin, light weight, enduring and better crafting capacity.


Spinning machine which initiated Industrial Revolution at Museum of early Industrialization in Wuppertal (Germany) > Wikipedia image by Markus Schweib

The crafts have been known by the terrain, culture, and artisan. The craft products substantially rely on local materials, and so have regional or local flavour of materials. The terrain also reflects the nature, flora, fauna and climate of the place. The culture with its varying levels of sociopolitical affectations creates local values. These get reflected in the form, fables, symbols and metaphors used in crafts. The culture is also seen in the ethnicity, and what transpires as heritage. An artisan can produce things that are mundane, but if gets opportunity and exposure, in spite of all other factors remaining consistent, new forms arrive. The successful crafts’ products are emulated by other locals, and in this sense craft become regional.


Brother knitting machine – example of Industrial craft > Wikipedia image by Gudde Fog, Denmark

Crafts’ processes have seen substantial redefinition during the period of industrial revolution. The redefinition occurred on two counts, easier movement of goods and people, and industrialized production facilities. Both were based on steam as the efficient source of power. Easier movement of goods allowed massive imports of traditional and exotic raw materials that were cheaper and better. The industrialized production processes were batch and continuous type, faster, non-personal and sharper in precision. The mass-produced items offered cheaper alternative to highly individualized and region specific items. The items were produced with greater use of ‘machine skills’ than ‘human skills’. The craft-person began to migrate to industrial production centres as designers, craft facilitators and as skilled workers. The crafted products of the Industrial era were not handicrafts.


The dilution of craft, as a product of tradition, heritage, individualized skills and regional ethnicity occurred due to the massive production of industrial goods. People appreciated the stark simplicity with neat functionality, variety, reliability and consistency of quality of industrial products. Unlike these, the crafted products were connoisseurs items. The rarity of a crafted products, however, encouraged, better appreciation of other things of beauty. A debate on physical versus nonphysical heritage revived. The non physical heritages were traditions of story telling, fables, learning and teaching, dance, drama and other form of performing arts, rituals, fairs and festivals, knowledge base and practices concerning nature and living. These cultural heritages were fragile and intangible, and so were, now keenly sought, reenacted and documented. The intangible heritage brought back the mass of inherited knowledge and skills that existed in every culture. The debates created inter-cultural dialogue, and respect for diverse ways of life. Most importantly the cultural heritages were now anchored to places, buildings and artefacts and these reinforced the interest in crafts, craft centres and the artisans.


It was realized that when people migrate to other lands they carry the intangible legacy with them, and find a comfort through the metaphoric link to the place of origin, distanced culture and past. The intangible legacy offered an assurance that these ‘things’ worked in certain environments. To the immigrants it gives strength, a sense of identity and purpose.

Local Store



Post 624 –by Gautam Shah


We use objects for their many different qualities. Some are used for their structural properties, while others are useful due to their surface qualities. We try to find an object with the best combination of such attributes. Where such a combination is not easily or immediately available, we primarily try to change the object appropriately and secondarily we try to combine materials and create geometric compositions.


Aerogel, extremely low density, low thermal conductive material. It is solid and feels like hard styrofoam to touch > Wikipedia image by Image policy

There are Four categories of essential qualities sought in objects for various purposes:

● Engineering Attributes:

Chemical -composition, phase, resistance, structure.

Physical -thermal, electrical, magnetic, gravity-metric, optical, acoustics.

Mechanical -stress/strength, form-ability, rigidity, toughness, durability.

Dimensional Features

Shape -camber, lay/orientation, out of flat, roughness, waviness.

Size -scale, proportion, orientation, nature of perception.

Surface Properties:

Colour -hue, tone, illumination, refractivity, reflectivity, opacity, transparency, fluorescence.

Texture -level and direction of illumination, perceptive organ, nature of contact, scale.

Pattern -random, rational, orientation of cut, original, altered.

Other Considerations:

Availability -local, seasonal, quality, quantity.

Costs  -access, procuring, conversion.

Conveyance  -distance, time, weight, volume.

Handling -safety, storage, containment

Manufacturing -conversion, processing


Spider silk Cape from Madagascar golden Orb spider silk > Wikipedia image by Cmglee

For a material to be purposeful two broad considerations are required.

  1.          What one does to a material?
  2.         How the material responds?

Moulding the earth > Flickr image by Julien Harneis


We seek an object with a perfect combination of many different qualities. Our quest is however further complicated when we require materials in very large quantities, and of equalized quality. We need materials locally, and often immediately.


Laterite quarrying for stones at Angadipuram, India > Wikipedia image by Werner Schellmann


The material’s response is evident on three counts:

● Other Materials,

● Environment

● User.

● Other Materials: A material responds to other materials within its field. The reaction occurs both, in the presence or absence, of the environment and the user.

A material of a higher phase reacts more readily to a material of the lower phase -, e.g. solid to a liquid. Material with an ion charge reacts to a material with opposite ion charge. A material with lower latent energy becomes recipient.

The response of a material occurs more emphatically, through the surface, than anywhere else. Materials with their own surface systems respond in the same manner as their body would. However, applied surface systems with the same or of foreign materials show different reactions. The surface preparation, application method, and bonding techniques, all play their role in such reactions.


Doughnut Shop achieving consistent finish > Wikipedia image by Neil T

● Environment: A material-object is affected by many features of the environment. The effects are local if directional (through specific orientation), or occur comprehensively. The constituents of the object also respond differently to specific effects of the environment. For such multilateral environmental demands, single, or mono material systems are inadequate. To serve such demands, separately as well as unitedly, multi-material-objects or composites are conceived. A surface material, covering the entity, forms its own environment for the entity. Here the situation can also be equated to material to environment response.


Abandoned ship in the former Aral sea, Kazakhstan > Wikipedia image by Staecker

Effects of the environment substantially relate to the movement of earth-sun, and so have a time dimension. The time dimension makes such environmental effects to be temporary, permanent, recurrent, or variable. The effects of environment are structurally causative (capable of causing structural changes in a material), and also sensually attributive (capable of providing the sensorial experiences).

One perhaps cannot terminate the processes of nature, however, the effects of environment can be temporarily delayed or quickened and spatially diffused, or intensified, to programme the functioning of an object.


Faux rustication > Flickr image by marctasman

● User: A user perceives a material-object in different terms like: Engineering attributes, Dimensional features, Surface properties and for Other considerations. A surface is the most proximate and tangible part of an object. A surface, is often the reason, why an object continues to survive in a particular setting.



This was part of First chapter – Section 1 of my Notes on Surface Finishes Interior Design Notes


METAPHOR -Issues for Design -11

Post 623 –by Gautam Shah



Metaphors in design occur in many different forms. These are of statements main two classes, explicit or implicit in nature. The explicit statement, has a holistic form, a direct representation or substantially analogical one. But architectural forms, except for abstract monuments and sculptural structures, need to be used as interior spaces. These requirements force the forms to be functional. The form here becomes an analogical metaphor. For architectural metaphors of explicit type, ‘A is used in place of B’, but such transportation cannot be without enhancing the scale. Architectural structures are far larger than things that they represent. This is, however, done by maintaining same context, endowing same functionality, or keeping semblance of size, scale, proportion and other sensorial qualities. The explicit metaphor could be personal interpretation of the creator, or by the perceiver. It is an identity equalization with something known, comparable or a conventional element.


Longaberger HQ in Newark Ohio > Wikipedia image by Derek Jensen (Tysto

Architecture also connotes composition of multiple elements. These architectonic elements remain modest in scale to be within the range of perception. Modest scaling also allows the elements to be abstracted more effectively. As an implicit presentation, the abstracted architectural metaphors need no corresponding equalization, confirmation, or functionality. The implicit metaphors in architecture (and other expressions like arts, etc.) derive from an assortment of experiences, and so their roots need not and cannot be traced. These implicit metaphors as abstract images are placed with known vocabulary of the distance, orientation, juxtaposition, scale, etc.

Crazy hill of San Francisco

Crazy hills San Fransisco > Flickr image by Hakan Dahlstrom


The word Metaphor derives from metapherin, metaphorá, metaphero (Greek) = to transfer, metaphora (Latin)= carrying over, 16th C métaphore (Old French), and from –meta =after, with, across & –phero =to bear or to carry. A word or phrase that ordinarily designates one thing, and is used to designate another. A metaphor is transferring meaning from one object or saying to another. Metaphor is analogical bridge to something that is ‘distanced, not of this space or time’.

Metaphor relies on association, comparison or resemblance. ‘A metaphor expresses the unfamiliar (the tenor) in terms of the familiar (the vehicle)’. Metaphor is like a carrier for clarity, to enhance clarity of a concept by going beyond the concrete or real world association. To take an expression metaphorically is a way to take it figuratively, to reinterpret it and to construe it in a manner that departs from, but remains informed.


When we consider a building, built-form, structure or architecture as abstract tenure then some need to justify it by borrowing or implanting few realistic attributes. Architecture employs ground and figure to denote, respectively the tenor and the vehicle (cognitive linguistics uses the terms, target and source respectively). Newer architectures have metaphors, justified by a fairly explicit statement. Compared to these other traditional creations (where the form has been oft repeated) have an implicit declaration, and for that reasons are taken for granted. Architectural metaphors are intentionally made implicit, when one is afraid of alluding to attributes. This happens when one wants to distance from highly styled or overused elements.


Remains of Rummu quarry immersed in water -Part of Music Video > representing loneliness-desolation > Wikipedia image by Janno Kusman as flickr user jannok

A metaphor is not language, it is an idea expressed by language, an idea that in its turn functions as a symbol to express something’. –Susanne Langer.


The form of a Church as a cross, Hindu Temple as a Mandala, Garbha-Griha (the inner chamber of a Hindu temple) as the womb, dualities of Janus, loads over head or shoulder of Atlantis, all are holistic metaphors, but shrouded into years of interpretations. Decorative motifs, grotesque forms, contrived architectonic elements, abstract human or animal forms, are symbolic, yet distinctly functional elements in limited sense. Wide-base structures like Pyramid, Eiffel Tower, Electric Pylons, and tapering column structures like Pylons. Obelisks, Pillars, Stambha, are gravity compliant entities, long-lasting and so stable. Intervening elements in buildings like Verandahs, vestibules, corridors, passages, denote metaphoric links or connections between out side and inside.


Adi Niwas -First residence of Gandhi in Sewagram, Maharashtra India  as Ashram > Wikipedia image by Muk.Khan


Sabarmati Ashram of Gandhi at Ahmedabad India > Wikipedia image by Nichalp

 Ashram is a form of Hermitage, a place for ‘Spartan’, celibate or ascetic life. The image relates to minimum space, a cell, in Buddhist stupa or monastery. Gandhi established several ones like Phoenix Ashram at Durban in South Africa, Sabarmati Ashram at Ahmedabad in India, Sevagram Ashram Wardha Maharashtra, India. All these had few common features Verandah and sloped roofs. When architect Charles Correa was designing a Gandhi Memorial at Sabarmati, the theme of the verandah and sloped roofs emerged metaphorically.


Gandhi Memorial at Sabarmati Ashram, Ahmedabad by Charles Correa > Wikipedia image by Hardik jadeja

The architectural form, which is explicit in the initial stages, evolves inconsistently over the ages, but with several orders of conversions, the form and its meaning, both become implicit expressions. It is like pictorial language Hieroglyphics where the objects expressed one thing in terms of another, but with transformations make their interpretations sometimes easier, but mostly difficult.


Buckminster Fuller’s House Dymaxion  built by Butler brothers Kansas city > Wikipedia image by Daderot

Architects have used different expressions to show their process of form perception. But there is a wide deviation of between perception and conception of the form. These metaphoric quotes are naturally out of the context of time and space. 1. A house is a machine for living in -Corbusier. 2. It is not the right angle that attracts me, nor the straight line, hard and inflexible, created by man. What attracts me is the free and sensual curve -the curve that I find in the mountains of my country, in the sinuous course of its rivers, in the body of the beloved woman.- Oscar Niemeyer. 3. Life is chaotic, dangerous, and surprising and buildings should reflect that. –Frank Gehry


HSBC Hong Kong HQ building by Norman Foster > Wikipedia image by WiNG

Can metaphors be used to widen experiences that are otherwise mainly visual? Modern gadgets like Remote controls, switch-gears, driving wheels or mobiles beyond visual experience now offer sounds, vibrations, warmth, presence or absence of gravity, pressure-feel of acceleration-deceleration to reinforce or alter the cognitive experience. As designers, ‘we can influence perception by stimulating the viewer’s five senses to invoke broader conceptual associations’.


Cornell University Campus Doha Qatar > Wikipedia image by vobios

A metaphor is ‘used to draw a comparison between two distinct objects, whereas a symbol is used a stand-in for a much more complex, and generally more abstract, idea’. Symbols carry a wide range of concepts through their own compositions. Symbols also carry different meaning across generations, and culturally mean different things to different people. Any attempt to derive a meaning through their surviving trace of the context does not work. One may not bother about interpreting the meaning of a symbol as it could have turned very abstract, but a metaphor to remain relevant must be very explicit or supported by ‘explanations’.


 To create Modern day metaphors, one of the most useful tools has been digital morphing. It allows the scaling and merging with the existing conditions by selective stretching, inflating, shrinking etc. These are attempted, more in films and other visual mediums, than in architecture. Architects try to liberate their creations by adopting Deconstructivism. Games have adopted the technology more cautiously.


Architecture im Video game -Minecraft > Pixabay free image by allinonemovie

The American aesthetician Kendall Walton calls (modern audio-video) games, ‘generators of fictional or make-believe content. The game is governed by complex, tacit, mutually understood rules or norms, principles of generation, that render what’s fictional in the game, what players of it are supposed to imagine in playing it, a fixed function of the actual states and behaviours of various things and people they perceive, manipulate, and otherwise interact with as they play it’.



Screen shot from computer game ‘The whispered World’ > Wikipedia image : Attribution: Daedalic Entertainment GmbH

The Props, as Walton calls them, or enriched interfaces, are here means of imagination deriving their instrumental value or interest from the intrinsic value or interest of the fictional content they help generate. Some games, though allow manipulation of such interfaces such as change of the stadium in cricket or football game or war zones, culture and technological standards of warriors, climate conditions of the scenario. Modern day drafting tools that allow the ‘form generations’, also allow surface sensuality manipulations. Some degree of ‘form reformationis allowed though tied to the wire framing or connected point networks. The freedom to transgress or fly-out beyond, without the umbilical interface will arrive someday.


Ballistic Arcade developed by GRIN and Triotech Amusement > Wikipedia image attribution: Triotech Amusement ( )


This is the 11 th article of 20 topics series on ISSUES for DESIGN


Post 622 –by Gautam Shah




Expression is main intention in fields like literature, art, architecture, fashion, and other branches of design. The expression has content that is implicit, subtle or explicit. Besides the content the expression emerges from a mix of medium and technique. The content as inspiration or realization depends on the intensity of personal relevance and comes in from many different fields. The medium and technique derive from many different geographies and eras.



The expression is sometimes made devoid of any content. But, one is never satisfied with the abstraction, and to achieve a better result it is tried over and over again. It results into an ‘abstract style’. The abstract style in absence of the content is strongly rooted with the medium and technique. Somewhere the ‘abstract’ begins to acquire a metaphoric meaning.


‘Style is a characteristic or group of characteristics that we can identify as constant, recurring, or tenacious.’ + ‘Artistic style is the sum of constant, recurring or coherent traits identified with a certain individual or group.’ -Living With Art, Rita Gilbert


Capriccio Palasttreppe > ART By Bernardo Bellotto 1721-1780

Such metaphoric content is matured by someone, but is invigorated by others in different time and space. And if the content, medium and techniques are different from the origins of inspiration, then ‘what is that‘ –Style or the Manner are reassessed. If style is holistic concept consisting of several characteristics, accepted and practised coherently by several persons across different fields of expressions, than Manner is a set of selected components that substantively codifies the ‘stylized expression’. Styles are creations that are distanced in locations and occasions, but with some re-collective connection. A stylized expression may not have cogency to the original. It is the mental image or glory that becomes the manner.


Dragon gate at Guell Pavilions by Gaudi

Manners or ‘stylistic elements often reflect a period, a socio-political-economic environment. The scrutiny of the expressed forms into lines or shapes, frontal or angular views, foreground or background, the tempo, sensorial aberrations, colour or tonal gradations, etc. is imprecise. So manner criticism relies more on discreet terms to connote restrained, evasive reasonableness. A ‘manner’ is full of cramped codes, with silly and arbitrary rules.


Atlantis supporting the balcony Tyszkiewicz-Potocki palace Warsaw > Wikipedia image by Bartosz MORAG

‘Mannerism, derived from the Italian maniera (manner) is a specific phase of the general Renaissance style, but manner is used very widely.’ Manner derives from Anglo-French manere, > Old French maniere > from Vulgar Latin *manaria (Spanish-manera, Portuguese-maneira, Italian-maniera, Dutch-manier, German-manier, Swedish-maner), > from fem. of Latin manuarius (belonging to the hand), from manus ‘hand’.



Wassily Chair (Model 3B) designed by Marcel Breuer in 1925-26 at Bauhaus > Wikipedia image by Lorkan (Flickr)

Style and Manner both need, time and process to spread and sink into the society. The process of spread was accelerated manifold during the industrial age, due to faster means of travel and communications. The styles and manners, however, were recognized, and equally rapidly forgotten. These though incarnated themselves in other fields.



Wall mural on singers of seventies > Wikipedia image by Alain Bertrand

Cubism remained with painting, sculpture and architecture and has not found expression elsewhere. Deconstructivism of literature by Derrida did not come to architecture till means of realization like CAD tools were available. Sensualism, psychedelic arts and make-believe in the cinema and graphics, are expressions still tied to the passage of time. Perhaps some different techniques of expression and realization are due. The concept of minimalism and sustainability may converge, and manifest as architecture of thinness and gravity defying stances. Compared with this literature is protuberant, still relying on elaboration and on metaphor.


Luxor temple Egypt > Cartouches for Ramesses II > Wikipedia image by Asta

In fields like art, sculpture, architecture, fashion and other branches of design, which rely on expression through use of material and technology, changes in physical sciences are going to be the driving forces. In other fields of expressions like literature, performing arts, communications, the changes in behavioural and biological sciences will re-define the perception mechanism of the content.