Part 12 Rhythm
Moving right along in our series, let’s discuss the idea of rhythm. It is defined as a measured or cyclic motion characterized by a regular recurrence of elements or features. This can include repetition to establish continuity and flow. The purpose of rhythm is primarily to prevent a room from feeling stagnant or choppy. If there’s no rhythmic element your spaces might feel overly separate from one another. Or, in a single room, it can discourage a natural flow of movement which makes traversing the room feel awkward. So, how do we accomplish rhythm?
Our first example, the area rug shown in the photo above, provides what is known as transitional rhythm. The pattern around the outside leads the eye to naturally follow it all the way around without interruption. This is particularly effective because it mimics the way humans would normally move around a table. Picture your guests debating where they’d like to sit. They will instinctively do so by mentally and/or literally circling the table on a rectangular path. Notice how large the border of the rug is. It must be so in order to capture peoples’ attention as the cyclical element in the room. Without the rug, people might awkwardly stop and try to determine how and where they fit into the scheme of the room.
Another excellent and elegant way to provide a sense of rhythm is the use of molding. This is especially apparent in the photo above. The designer opted to use very large crown molding around the ceiling, and equally sizeable base board. Although we can’t see what is “behind us” in the photo we will assume that the molding continues. There is also a coordinating frame around the door.
This effectively creates balance between the room and the view of the outdoors. Yes, the beautiful bay windows capture our attention, but they could easily overwhelm the space and make it seem insignificant. The molding deters this problem by insisting that our eyes are just as interested in the inside of the room. We naturally follow the continuation of the molding around the room, and what was once just a room is now our “surroundings.” Thus, rhythm is very effective at adding significance to a room that might otherwise disappear into that which surrounds it!
Next read Part 13 – Emphasis
Don’t forget to go back and start by reading Part 1