An architect friend has often opined about application of aesthetics in his line of work. Randal believes that building design is all about the unity of form and function. A building should prioritise its present and anticipated future functions. The building should also provide a pleasant backdrop for the end users. The combination of these two elements should also ideally, not be unsightly to the general public. To design such buildings without relying upon excess decorative elements is a conundrum. It comes down to creating buildings that fulfill our complex human requirements yet allow for simplicity in style.
When we see an elegant building, a captivating landscape, study fine art, listen to our favorite music, and so forth we are engaging our personal, subjective aesthetic sense. For example, when I first encounter an unfamiliar piece of music I try to approach it with a neutral, almost indifferent attitude. While aware of my opinions regarding good or bad taste, I aim to hold judgment at bay while surrounding my senses with the cadence, harmony, tones, and lyrics (if any). If the piece brings something pleasant and novel to my mind I personally judge it as good. If it seems dissonant, grating, and harsh, I personally judge it as bad.
“Aesthetic matters are fundamental for the harmonious development of both society and the individual.”–Friedrich Schiller
Most of us cultivate our visual and intellectual aesthetic so as to present a good impression to others. The most effective aesthetic is one that reveals our basic personality and behavioral qualities without going overboard and appearing self-conscious and vain. Looking too put together is off-putting to many people, so most of us use moderation in our daily presentation. We begin with a contemporary, moderate sensiblility; then tweak it with a subjective, personal item–accessorizing. Some people closely, follow current fashion trends and others pay little or no attention to trends. Most of us are somewhere in between.
“Design must be functional, and functionality must be translated into visual aesthetics without any reliance on gimmicks that have to be explained.”–Ferdinand Porsche
Gardeners hone their skills by combining purposeful intentions with their personal opinions about beauty. Certain varieties, colors, shapes, and sizes of plants are included in the composition. Common varieties are interspersed with unusual, rare, or otherwise unique plants to create visual interest to the flower garden. Similar intentions are used in vegetable gardens with the added usefulness of locating certain plants next to other particular plants in synergetic ways to enable the plants help each other thrive. The combinations reveal the gardener’s aesthetic to people who view the collection of plants.
Consciously or unconsciously, we all exude an outward appearance of our inner lives. Like it or not, we are aesthetic creatures.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes film and television actor, Giovanni Ribisi. “For me, acting is all about the aesthetic. I just want to keep honing my craft. Not that I’m taking myself too seriously, but every artist should consider himself Picasso. Otherwise, you’re doing yourself an injustice.”
Aesthetics has far more impact on our society than most realize. Even in a restaurant, I first notice the design of the menu, tablecloth and cutlery or the wine glasses. Good wine in ugly pressed glass tastes different, or even worse coffee in plastic cups – and yet this is obviously a business model that many find attractive.
Smart business people know the truth of “It’s all in the presentation”.
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