Does a 1/2″ Proportion Really Matter In the World of Modern Interior Design?
As always, we’d like to hear your thoughts.
Beauty is hard to describe. Putting words to the ethereal is not easy to do. When you see a home, a room, or a piece of luxury furniture that’s perfectly proportioned, you just know it. You feel it’s beauty.
Most designers will tell you that proportion and balance are the two most important principles of design. In the world of interior design, this harmonic relationship is every day business.
This is certainly true at VIOSKI. Proportion plays a big role in redefining modern furniture. For Jeff Vioski, our co-founder and designer, laboring over a half-inch for weeks, or even months, is business as usual. When he declares a design to be perfectly proportioned, he means it.
His obsession prompted us to delve into his views on proportion, and to take a closer look what makes a design aesthetically pleasing.
Of course, there are two sides to it. Aren’t there always? The mathematical side. And then, the art side. Math brings in the cold hard facts. Remember studying the Golden Ratio and the number 1.618? It’s the naturally occurring proportion that underpins much of nature and our universe. From planetary orbits, the human body, spirals of seashells, formation of storm clouds, to the shape of leaves. It’s so pervasive in nature, that it appeals to us at a subconscious level as perceptually right.
Dating back 2500 years to the Greeks and Romans, it shows up everywhere in design and architecture. From the Great Pyramids to the Parthenon, through centuries of history, designers have been using the Golden Ratio.
Fast forward to today, it’s still very present in interior design. Interior Designers continue to incorporate the mathematical Golden Ratio into their guiding design principles. Some excellent blogs have been written on the subject. Mary Cook posted “Scale and Proportion in Interior Design: The Golden Ratio”. Freshome posted “Why you should use the Golden Ratio in Your Interior Décor”.
But for Jeff Vioski, it’s more about the art side of proportion. While he recognizes the importance of mathematics in achieving rhythm and balance of the eye in design, he leans into the beauty side of things. As he says, “breaking a design down, you would find a rhythm, even the mathematical relationships, but for me, it’s about intuition, an innate knowing that it works.”
“When it comes to a room, regardless of how it’s decorated, you see right away if the proportions are right. Sometimes furniture is placed too close, sometimes too far apart. I prefer more intimate over too spacious. I always set furniture for good conversation.”
Clustering seating in a 12’ x 12’ maximum area makes for good conversation. A larger space will result in a group of people naturally breaking into a second talking group. Jeff then suggests setting up a second conversational area by using a transitional piece like a low-profile lounge that can be accessed from both sides.
When working with our interior design partners and customers, the way Jeff places furniture in a room conveys an immediate sense of his innate understanding of proportion.
That’s also true in every modern furniture piece he designs. He’ll be the first to tell you some designs are a struggle to get the proportions right. While others flow quite naturally. You’ve likely had a similar experience with projects. Some are easy, and some are, well, let’s say more challenging.
The VIOSKI Palms I Chair was artistically right when he first drew it up. It had good balance. The cadence of the buttons was perfect. The proportional relationships between the thinness of the arm, angle of the back to the arm, the seat cushion, all felt right. It had balance and harmony. Simple design elements brought interest to the piece. The industry took notice. The Palms I Chair design has accolades with the Interior Design of the Year Award in 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2014. It’s mid-century modern beauty is timeless.
On the flip side, getting the VIOSKI Tuulla Chair to “perfectly proportioned” was a mathematical wrestling match. Jeff started this design with the practicalities of comfort. Everything had to be just right. The lumbar support. The height of the back to rest your head. The seat width had to be supremely comfortable, and the arms perfectly placed. The design had to account for the variance in the size of the person and work for everybody. If that’s not enough, the tufts all had to be the same size. He laid them out on a grid until he got them perfect. Right down to the half-inch. But in the end … it was the art side that won out. The slight angle of the arm, the sensual lean, the angle of the legs, the sumptuous tufting Artful design touches that entwine to give the Tuulla Chair a sense of motion and a stunningly beautiful silhouette.
Each piece in the VIOSKI Collection has its own design story. Every interior design project is unique. But all share the common goal for perfect proportion—that harmonious moment when you feel the beauty of your art. No words needed. I think you know that one.
We believe that half inch matters. On the art side, and actually, on both sides. Consider this—that little half inch extrapolated could really mess with the math of the universe.
We’d like to hear how you use proportion in your designs. Do you use the math, or is it all artistic intuition?
VIOSKI is an experience of artistic expression brought to life in timeless furniture design. Unique in style, charismatic and sensual. Each piece is masterfully created to be simple yet complex. Proportional yet fluid. It’s handcrafted in California by master artisans who devote themselves to extraordinary quality. Vioski has coined and set the standard for new-century design