Monday, January 12, 2009

Design Topic 3: Center Element Off-set (optical illusion)

When creating a stair railing that has a center element on the upright balusters, it is critical to have the center element raised slightly above the center-line of the baluster.

Here is an example... the collars in the center of each elongated 'O'(oval-the upright balusters), are the center elements off-set higher than mathematical middle of the 'O'.

When one views a stair rail, on a rise(staircase) or on the flat(balcony), the center element will look low if the element is mathematically centered exactly. The reason is due to the viewer's position regardless if it is from above or below the railing.

I believe we are dealing an optical illusion that is created due to the relationships involved. The perspective of the viewer, the top and bottom rails, and the element in the center create specific relationships with each other.

My general rule of thumb is to raise the center element 1" above the center of the baluster. So... if my bottom horizontal rail and my upper horizontal rail are 30" apart, then I would put the center of the center element at 16" high from the bottom bar.

I hope this design tip helps. I believe that optical illusions are very powerful in art and I think that we need to accommodate and work with them them in our designs. More on optical illusions in the future.


No comments: