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Post 641 –by Gautam Shah


These are 13 articles (already published) in a proposed series of 20 articles.



1 BODY POSTURES – Issues for Design -1

2 INTERVENTIVE SPACES  – Issues for Design -2

3 PERCEPTION through SCALES and CONVERSIONS -Issues for Design -3

4 SPACE PERCEPTION – Issues for Design -4

5 MOVEMENT and BALANCE – Issues for Design -5

6 NON VISUAL LANGUAGE -Issues for Design -6

7 DESIGNERS and QUALITY -Issues for Design -7

8 ANTILIGATURE -Issues for Design -8

9 SCALING the SPACES -Issues for Design-9

10 REAL and VIRTUAL -Issues for design-10

11 METAPHOR Issues for Design -11

12 CONTEXT -Issues for Design -12

13 SOLIDS and VOIDS -issues of Design -13



Post 640 –by Gautam Shah


Objects and Surfaces have their demands, which must be tackled before one can use them. Objects are used for their dimensional features, mass, form, engineering attributes, and other consecrations like cost, availability, ecology, etc. whereas the surfaces are used for sensorial purposes. Objects and Surfaces are rationalized to prepare them for technical use, handling, environment and assembly.


Stone Wall > Pixabay Image by GregMontani Bayern

We do so by matching the requirements with readily available lots. However, we need to prepare, process or manufacture the objects or surfaces through several conversions. The processes of rationalizing, though begin with the object-modification, may eventually include changing the environment. Changing the environment immediately can bear upon a very vast field of actions. Like the old fable, for the king it is more efficient to cover own feet with leather shoes than layer streets of town, to protect from dirt’. ‘Similarly one may open the umbrella during the rain and not at other times’. It is more efficient to deal with the environment in space and time.


The Parthenon -West side Weathering and usage > Wikipedia image by Yair Haklai


Positional or differential weathering > Keshav Temple in Somanthpuram India  > Wikipedia image by Hemanth M Y

The time and effort expended in modifying the entity or its environment, is not very efficient. It is often more effective to compose a new entity (functionally, technologically and economically), than expend too much effort in improvising it. It is better to buy a new razor blade with a sharp edge, than polish the blunt one, or join a bone mechanically, than allow passage of time to do so.


Tennis Balls – Multi material objects > Pexels image by

Objects and the surface systems, if of single material, the operative demands are simpler, but if composed of many materials (similar or dissimilar), have complex and often in-specifiable demands. It is ideal to reform the object entity by integrating its surface systems with it. Where such one-to-one integration is not possible, the object entity and its surface system both may be individually refashioned to become each a single material entity.


Diverse and Multi layered treatment of windows > Pexels image by

A surface system can be facilitated by delaying or curtailing the effects of environment, for the functional period of the entity. Environmental effects are from specific orientation and for duration, and so a surface systems can be designed to be selectively local or dynamic. Liquids and gases have no stable object boundary, so must be contained, and for such material phases the container becomes the apparent surface system.


Nuclear waste Storage > Wikipedia image by Bill Ebbesen

Ordinarily surface finishes are fashioned, only after the object and its relevant environment have been conceived. But sometimes an object could be so hazardous that until a really workable surface system is designed, the object cannot be allowed to exist or function. Similarly an environment could be so harmful that till an appropriate finish system is devised the object cannot exist, much less function in it.

The environment influences objects in such a complex way, that any search for logic is sometimes impossible. This is the reason why many surface makers seem to work with their intuitive faculties. To some people, ‘providing a surface system is an art or craft, rather than a scientific discipline’.


Car assembly and finishing is a single process > Pexels image by Mike

At any cross section of time, we find a large number of surface systems are overtly attached to the object or in the process of being integrated to the entity-base. It is very necessary that a surface system in such a situation, be singular in constitution or at least be effective in that manner. Finish makers aspire to provide a singular surface system in place of a multi-component system. However, in a finish maker’s world there are very few situations where singular surface system can satisfy all the demands. Multi-component surface systems are reality.


Installation of base for MUGA tennis court > Flickr image > credits >


SOLIDS and VOIDS -issues for Design -13

Post 639 –by Gautam Shah


Solid is a matter of presence, and Void is absence of it. A solid marks its presence by obscuring some other elements, or at least supporting a myth, if anything is behind it. Voids mean nothingness, like a featureless terrain. Voids exist due to the lack of clarity of detail, deficient perception, peculiar framing or reduced background-foreground contrast. Solids depend on the form or shape of things, and how these are perceived. Solids are realized by the bounce back, while voids are for diffusion of energy.


Voids and Solids -Railway Station > Pixabay Image by MichaelGaida, Dusseldorf / Germany 

Solids are sensed closer and voids rearward. For visual aberration, the solids, however, may be placed at a distance, and voids closer. The solid element forms a frame or reference, submerging the scene, theme or field. And yet solid and void, are not coincidental elements in the time or space. Both could be distanced in space, or occurring as a remembrance in time. A sharper dividing edge enhances the separation between the two. A silhouette in the twilight zone is an example of such separation. Artists highlight the lead character by placing against a dark background or by accentuating outline.

Restaurant Interior Silhouette Eating People

Restaurant > Max Pixel Image

A solid is perceived to be heavier in mass, as a bounded spread, and of darker colour, to add to its weight and presence, whereas the void is lesser mass, infinite extent and of lighter colour. Solids are represented as of static form, but voids are dynamic. This may be due to the tendency of liquids to form a deep vortex towards the gravity. In this sense forms like upside cones, pyramids, gorges, pits, valleys, object with receding centres, etc. represent voids. However, in Hindu philosophy void is equated to ‘Shoonya’ (literally Zero), a state of nothingness and also meaning ‘sky or Heaven’. The sky as space or ‘Avakash’ (Sanskrit-Hindi) is upward.


Scream ART by Edvard Munch (1863-1944)


Nasal Chowk courtyard and Panch Mukhi Hanuman temple Nepal > Flickr Image by Jorge Lascar

Voids occur as interim zones of no occupation between solids. And a void can also be the ‘negative’ space inside a solid. Such voids are formed by the enveloping surface or an enclosure by a wire-frame. Voids are scooped out on removal of solid or mass such as in processes like chasing, carving, engraving, denting, etc. Voids are perceived, like a black-hole, in absence of any definitive cognition from a location. Voids are volume seen through transparent bounding. Voids are, any space entraining, partly or thoroughly, a solid form.


Henry Moore Yorkshire Sculpture Park > Image from >

Solids have characteristic form or shape. These are faceted or rounded surfaces. Faceted solids play up the voids better than rounded ones. Solids cast a shadow on the terrain or other solids, revealing their third dimension. Solids have add-ons or protruding mass created by processes like folding, shaping, forming, layering, plastering, sticking, etc.


Fransworth House by Mies Van Der Rohe > Wikipedia image by Victor Grigas

Solids and Voids are nominally coexisting elements, but may not be coincidental in time or space. One of these could be real and the other an abstract one. Voids are perceived as spaces where a solid has been breached, but trace of pre-existent connection bridge is slightly indicated. Solids are perceived as spaces where a void has been over brimmed.


Silhouette Woman > Pixabay Image by boop_10000 English 

Void is an intervening time or space, appreciated, avoided or ignored, such as the pause in music, speech, writing, lithography or fonts. Just as several notes, as solids, form a sequence, the position of voids can form rhythm structure. If Solids denote the top and Void mean the bottom difference between the two positions is ‘peak to peak’ amplitude. In architecture, music and many other expressions, this is occasionally measurable. The voids or space that exists between matter like atoms and molecules define the attributes of materials. Such voids between solids are intrinsic, but foam materials have designed spaces.


This is the 13 th article of 20 topics series on ISSUES for DESIGN