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What is Beauty?

This post is going to talk about aesthetics and its purposes in the world of design.

Aesthetics are defined as “The branch of philosophy that deals with the nature and expression of beauty, as in the fine arts” (From http://www.thefreedictionary.com/aesthetics). Whether something is beautiful varies depending on the different perspectives of the viewers. In design, aesthetics play a great role, similar to the function of the structure and its mechanics. Analogy: When I buy running shoes, I look at the shoes not based on their function and ability to make me run faster, but based on their look and how “cool” they looked to me (well at least when I was young). It’s no different today: at first glance, people would usually have preferences on a design that looks beautiful compared to a dull looking design with similar functions and abilities. Fashion, houses, cell phones, toys, food and many more things are greatly affected by their aesthetic appeal over their functions, mechanics and other properties.

In design, aesthetics are based upon what everyone thinks looks nice; what the creator thinks that what everyone thinks looks nice, because our views of beauty are greatly affected by the media and its uniqueness; hence what is “beautiful” could also be “what is trending.” As a result, the designs of things are always altered to suit the ever-changing definitions of beauty, such as the designs of  “iPhones.” Although aesthetic appeal plays a great role in design (and in the market), I think that we, as consumers, should focus more on the functions, mechanics and other properties of structures as they would aid society more, and they would also influence more useful designs to be built to aid the people who need it the most.

Frank Lloyd Wright

During the time in our technological design class when everyone was still building cabins, my teacher spoke to us about a famous architect named Frank Lloyd Wright who made unique American architecture, and thought that we could be inspired by his work. It was until now that I decided to research about his works.

Frank Lloyd Wright was known for his prairie-styled buildings; buildings located close to grassland and/or in a natural environment. What made his buildings so famous was mostly because of their aesthetic appeal which was complemented by synchronizing the structures and materials of the building with the surrounding environment. In addition, Frank Lloyd Wright had designed many of his own furniture (which were built into the house), along with stained glass.

“The prairie has a beauty of its own and we should recognize and accentuate this natural beauty, its quiet level. Hence, gently sloping roofs, low proportions, quiet sky lines, suppressed heavy-set chimneys and sheltering overhangs, low terraces and out-reaching walls sequestering private gardens” – Frank Lloyd Wright

"Falling Water"

“Falling Water”

"Falling Water" Interior

“Falling Water” Interior