Recently when playing Deus Ex: Human Revolution, we noticed a predominant presence of polygonal and triangular shapes all over the game world (mostly applied to clothes and architecture). It is interesting to watch games using a coherent visual theme (and in this case, the triangle also makes sense, since it may refer to Trinity or the Delta sign which is also used for change or, speaking of the game’s context, revolution and/or change of humanity through augmentation), and when having a look at the games’ Art Director’s (Jonathan Jacques-Belletête) Tumblr Blog, it gets obvious that there seems to be a real obsession about linear, edgy geometric forms
and nude females.
When digging a little deeper into the topic, it becomes obvious that polygonal forms have been used in visual design since ancient times.
So, where does this all come from? Polygonal forms or triangles are (obviously) outcomes of geometry, which was invented by the Egyptians (although one may think Pythagoras is the father of geometry, he took it from the egyptians and refined it). It was born out of practical use of measuring, astronomy, and, of course, building pyramids.
At this point it may also be interesting to have a look at islamic art which makes heavy use of mathematical and rythmic patterns, or dig deeper into tesselations. Tesselations can be seen in Deus Ex Human Revolution quite often when looking at ceilings, building facades or patterns on clothes.
We already pointed to the fact that there is a plethora of symbolisms connected to geometrical (linear) forms, you just need to take a further look at the esoteric and metaphysical pythagereanism or alchemy. Triangular aesthetics of Deus Ex is a part of the overall futuristic look, but how about the use of triangular shapes today? Let’s have a quick look.
The Magnetic Curtain
The magnetic curtain by Florian Kräutli for Droog is an interesting example which combines aesthetics and functionality. It also reminds a lot of Deus Ex interiors and textile textures. What inspired Kräutli for doing this curtain?
I asked myself how an interior would look if it is not structured by visible light, as it is usually, but by the non-visible spectrum of the electromagnetic fields. So I also tried to develop materials that are made through these fields or other invisible forces (magnetism, microwave).
Speaking of visibility, how about the faceted shape of the Lockheed F 117 “Nighhawk”. The reason for having the faceted shape lies in the simple fact that it was the only way to calculate the “radar non-reflective” surface (which is the basis of most stealth fighters) back in the 1970s. But since then computation power grew and by this today’s stealth bombers use organic form for the sake of aerodynamics.
It is hard to imagine that those hard edged surfaces could be ergonomic or pleasant in a tactile way (as opposed to organic forms). Nevertheless, you may want to give this mouse by Nendo a try (inspired by japanese origami).
W11K Mobile Phone
Speaking of ergonomics and haptics, it’s interesting how japanese designer Naoto Fukasawa was inspired for creating the W11K shape. The inspiration for the specific “triangular” cellphone surface derives from peeled potatos as Fukasawa states during the movie Objectified:
Today Fukasawa’s phone may appear slightly outdated, but there’s an ideological successor: The HTC Diamond.
When looking back at how “sci-fi” Deus Ex triangular shapes appeared at the beginning, now, after doing some research, it doesn’t seem too sci-fi any more. There are quite some examples in the contemporary real world which come up with even more radical approaches towards “triangulation”. This post only shows the tip of an iceberg and should just give some inital inspiration, if you start looking at fashion or graphic design you are going to find much more triangle aesthetics. For some more examples and inspiration take a look at the following links: