“NATURE CREATES CURVED LINES, WHILE HUMANS CREATE STRAIGHT LINES.” ― HIDEKI YUKAWA, PHYSICIST
How Angularity Seduces The Eye & Artists Across Disciplines
Razor-sharp angles have been infused into the works of various artists for centuries. These blunt forms immediately impact the viewer's psyche, due to their visual dominance. It's these forms that first incited the Cubist art movement, which overflows with sharp planes and lines. Let’s delve into the angular obsession translated in diverse disciplines of design, starting with Fashion.
SHARP SHOULDER, CUT, and TAILORED FORM
Photo Credits from left to right: Jason Kibbler 2020, Jean Paul-Goude 1981, Olga Zavershinskaya 2011,Guy Bourdin 1969, Marcio Madeira2006, Helmut Newton 1985, Conde Nast Archive 1997, Hiro 1967, ALESSANDRO LUCIONI 2020
A strong, sharp shoulder is our favorite interpretation of this concept in fashion. An 80's emblematic stylistic feature, the emphasis on the shoulder has been loved since its introduction. In Womenswear, this strong shoulder gives power dressing its meaning: in the silhouette of jackets, dresses, blouses, and coats. At first, the padded, "line-backer" shoulder did not look so large because everything was oversized. Today it's everywhere - but with a more tailored silhouette. Shoulders are emphasized and everything else is trimmed, playing tricks with head-to-toe proportions.
Plunging V-necklines, lapels, peplum cuts, and seam lines are other areas this sharp angle is used in garment design to trick the eye and silhouette.
Photography credits from left to right: Wayne Maser 1986, Patrick Demarchelier 1988, Getty Images, Helmut Newton 1979, Luca Tombolini 2017, Jason Kibbler 2020, Jason Kibbler 2020
Tracing This Concept to 20th Century Cubism & Futurism Art Movements
Credits left to right: Georges Braque 1909, Alexander Archipenko 1913, Pablo Picasso 1909, Pablo Picasso 1910, Enrico Prampolini 1950
Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque originated the style known as Cubism, the avant-garde art movement considered to have had the greatest level of influence on modern art. Characterized by fragmented subject matter, deconstructed so that it can be viewed from multiple angles simultaneously, its geometric faceting of objects and shapes inspired other famous Cubist artists like Juan Gris and Fernand Léger. Cubism's impact stirred similar movements within Europe in music, literature, and architecture.
Cubo-expressionism (Czech Cubism) was born from the desire to explore Cubism in various media, encompassing sculpture, furniture, buildings, literature, film, and dance. This modern art style is a synthesis of French Cubism + German Expressionism.
VLASTISLAV HOFMAN, an architect and stage designer, was the first to design Cubist style furniture
“In Futurism, the eye is fixed and the object moves, but it is still the basic vocabulary of Cubism—fragmented and overlapping planes" — Robert Hughes, art critic
THE ACUTE ANGLE IN CONTEMPORARY ART
Photo Credits, left to right: Triangle, 1977 Sol Lewitt, Light, installation James Turrell, 1968
Furniture + Architecture | Angularity in our inhabited spaces
Photo Credits, clockwise: Pierre Cardin, Triangle desk 1980; Zig zag chair, Gerri Rietveld, 1934; Pierre Jeanneret, Kangourou Lounge Chairs, 1955
Many architects believe the more daring and risk-taking the use of geometry, the more visually appealing the final product will be. Architects that embrace these bolder angles, focusing on aesthetics over practicality, create cutting-edge structures, synonymous with "sleek" and "futuristic." As art connoisseurs, we applaud these acclaimed architects who have challenged the constrictions of building design to create cantilevered masterpieces.
From faceted buildings to angled abodes, these edifices create instant visual impact.
Private House in Latin America, Bjarke Ingels
Photography by Paul Raeside 2019
RW Lindholm House (originally in Minnesota, moved to Pennsylvania) – Frank Lloyd Wright; Photography by Patrick J. Mahoney
Frank Gehry Dream House in California – Frank Gehry. Created for himself in 1978 and renovated in 1990, his personal residence but him on the map as one of the most potent creative forces in architecture. Photography by Jason Schmidt
Museums + Centers for the Arts
Eli Broad Art Museum, Michigan - Zaha Hadid; Photography (left to right): Paul Warchol, Yulin Yu
Museum of Military History, Germany – Studio Libeskind; Photography: Alexandra Timpau
Tiroler Festspiele Erl Festival Hall, Austria - Delugan Meissl; Photography: Brigida Gonzalez
Denver Art Museum, Colorado – Gio Ponti; Photography: Bitter Bredt
Nelson Fine Arts Center, Arizona – Antoine Predock; Photography: ArchEyes
Salaam Forest Chapel, Japan – Hiroshi Nakamura; Photography: Koji Fujii / Nacasa & Partners
First Christian Church, Arizona – Frank Lloyd Wright; Photography: ArchEyes Sketch: Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation
The Church of Light, Japan – Tadao Ando; Photography Masaru Tezuka
The Shard, London – Renzo Piano. The tallest building in Western Europe. Sketch: Renzo Piano Building Workshop; Photography: Malcom Chapman
Edge, New York – Kohn Pederson Fox. Skydeck in Hudson Yards cantilevers 80 feet from the 100thfloor. Opening 2020; Photography: Connie Zhou, KPF Architects, Related Oxford
City & Rural landscape design | captured by aerial photography
Paris, Benjamin Grant
Simon Butterworth, Blue Fields and David Burdeny, Salt
These photographed salt pans are man-made areas where salt crystallizes. Both artists were moved by the artificial look of naturally occurring textures and colors in these environments. Simon Butterworth’s series of blue salt pans was captured in Shark Bay at the westernmost point of Australia. The crystallizers – shallow ponds in which the salt slowly evaporates – appear blue because they are reflecting the sky, and the brushstroke patterns depict tracks left by the salt harvesting machine.
David Burdeny shot at Shark Bay, as well as the Great Salt Lake and Mojave Desert. His wide spectrum of color was achieved by the different ecosystems and life in the waters. Through his Salt series, Burgundy wanted the viewer to contemplate the abstract essence of the ancient language of shapes, forms, colors and spaces that has emerged in these places where humanity collides with the natural world. Shot from a helicopter at 5,000 ft, the height was vital to flatten perspective. Daylight and cloud cover was also critical - the effect strengthened by complete lack of shadow.
Markel Rondondo, winner of DJ1 Drone Photography Award 2018; Spains Abandoned Housing Estates
Angularity in Wine | angular segmentation in vineyard landscape lends to prime harvesting
Photography Left to Right: Alamy stock photo, Robert Reiser (both)
Artist: Michael Breum
Sports Car design | angles promote aerodynamics, and beautiful cars
The Wedge Era in automotive design
1970 Ferrari Modulo; 1970 Lancia Stratos Zero; 1969 Alfa Romeo Iguana; 1974 Lamborghini Countach
Graphic design | Typeface
Futura - Paul Renner, 1927; Volte – Namrata Goyal, 2015
One of David Bowie’s iconic alter-egos was envisioned for the album cover of Aladdin Sane, his face struck with a lightning bolt. Bowie devised the concept, and makeup artist Pierre La Roche created the original design directly on his face. Fashion photographer Brian Duffy added a teardrop on the final cover.
“It’s a lightning bolt—an electric kind of thing.” – David Bowie
Make-up artist Pierre La Roche prepares David Bowie for a performance as Aladdin Sane, 1973. Credit: Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images