The human mind instinctively categorises images from the world around us, assigning each a ‘shape’ and creating our own mental library of visual forms. We then link each shape to a range of emotions, thoughts, and perceptions. Round, square, oval or rectangle, Kaldewei explores the choices we make…
Throwing some shapely questions into the mix, Kaldewei looks at why shape plays an important role in how consumers respond, and how this is impacting on design in the bathroom. In 2010, neuroscientists at Johns Hopkins conducted an experiment to find out if any shapes were more pleasing than others. A curvy surface is characteristic of living organisms so the brain may have evolved to process information about rounded shapes to guide behaviour like eating and attracting partners, evoking a friendly feeling. On the flipside, more angular objects, relating to rough, jagged forms, tend to be inorganic and offering shelter and structure, hence the feeling of safety.
Rounded shapes have a friendly, gentle warmer, softer association than more ridged images. There are a multitude of shapes, such as the sun and the moon, that symbolise a circle, representing inclusiveness, unity, and protection; their presence in the overall design makes a room feel youthful, happy, and carefree.
With their even proportions and strong ridged edges squares suggest stability and order, these more formal shapes are calming, evoking a sense of conformity, honesty, and rationality. You can’t imagine a square shape being easily toppled, designs with squares as the dominant shape, feel exceptionally reassuring.
Round, square, neutral or statement colour – there might be more to your bathroom choices than you thought!
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Main image credit: Kaldewei