Enduring design resonates with our innate appreciation of beauty. This simple realisation emerged from the Gestalt theory of perception. Gestalt argues that the mind sees groups of objects not as disconnected lines and shapes, but as a unified whole. It is the psychological basis for the current trend for design continuity.
When we look at things, our brains fill in many of the details. Align the core elements – continuation, similarity, proximity, and symmetry – perfectly, and the result is powerful design. The effect of design continuity can be so powerful that the space appears to be something more than the sum of its parts. Something better. Something foundational.
However, interior spaces pose a challenge for designers because living environments – whether commercial, residential, or public – are filled with chaotic interruptions that break the flow of vital design elements.
Here, we take a look at how stone can be used to create stunning continuity.
“Colour does not add pleasant qualities to a design – it reinforces it” – Pierre Bonnard
Although using a linking theme throughout a building has long been a design favourite, it is not strictly necessary for continuity. Continuity can be achieved via much subtler means, beginning with colour.
According to architectural design academics, effective continuity depends on aligning the prismatic qualities (how colour reflects light) of the different materials used in the design. This can be achieved on an architectural level, a design level, or both.
The majestic Waverton House, on the Wentworth Estate in Yorkshire, is a classic example. A modern building with heritage features, local sandstone is used throughout the interior. The stone brings historic integrity to the installation, whilst creating a seamless visual harmony that transforms a large area of disrupted spaces into a cohesive whole. The subtle hue of the sandstone is unobtrusive, its temperament gentle, its presence quietly reassuring.
The colourful veins in marble offer aesthetic and textural continuity. For example, Calacatta marble is prized for its elegant veins of burnished gold. With its irrepressible glimmer, the result is one of unexpected warmth. When offset against features such as polished brass fixtures, the theme is delicately continued throughout a space, creating a distinct but subtle atmosphere.
From a viewer’s perspective, the mind picks up these visual cues without effort. Unconsciously, the quiet gleams of gold are pulled together into a perception of one complete image.
In the case of marble, the perception is one of luxury. However, the diverse colour palettes of natural stone mean that, even within a particular type of stone, there can be almost limitless possibilities. Accenting the black veins in marble can result in an imposing, bold design. Offsetting marble’s natural luminescence with silver can create a perception of clean modernity. Bring out the twists of orange, and there is a welcoming softness.
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” – Leonard da Vinci
He had never heard of the term, but da Vinci fully understood the concept of design continuity. Stunning art, architecture, and design is about achieving the desired effect through the simplest means – and true design goes beyond the aesthetic.
One of the reasons stone is such an effective medium is that it is one of the purest available materials. Unlike synthetic materials such as concrete and plastic, it is not overloaded with political or cultural baggage. The perception is richer than visual continuity: it invokes deeper sensations.
This is one of the reasons why thorough research can make a difference when using stone or porcelain tiles in an installation. Visiting a showroom and working with a manufacturer to find the precise colours that will enable interior continuity can transform an interesting project into a powerful statement.
At Kinorigo, we are passionate about helping you embrace the design possibilities of stone and porcelain. Why not bring us your project ideas? If you would like to visit our new London showroom please call +44 (0) 24 7642 2580.