Why be subtle? Is it the same as being simple?
What is bold?
Is it possible to be subtle, yet bold?
The idea of subtlety is gaining popularity, partly inspired by the powerful influences of some international architects, who themselves, I would think are inspired by Zen monasteries and such influences. The advent of minimalism was the beginning of such thought.
In the everyday world of design, however, subtlety and simplicity are at conflict with boldness and complexity. These words have become a bit confusing. The coming of “star architecture” and the aspirations and desires of new cities have added to this confusion. We would like to be seen as different and yet we know that it is a thin line that separates the weird from the brilliant.
I ask myself then, if there is truth and beauty in architecture surely it cannot be built on a conflict of ideas?
The beauty that we find in nature inspires us to reflect on the quality of this essential truth. A complex world of geometry, a bold array of colours, and an amazing diversity of texture are all woven together by cosmic intelligence into elegant forms of flora and fauna.
The ability to be bold in original thought, to deeply understand the complexity of the human need and environmental sustainability and to express it in a language that is sensitive to context and as a part of the larger whole…that, I think is the way of design.
Subtlety is about being bold enough to be simple. It is to resolve the complexity of a program in a gesture that lends elegance and makes it richer in its simplicity. It is about making things intuitive and human.
The building which looks like a large golf ball or a fish is different from the delicate shells of an opera house that symbolises its gliding through air.
by Samarendra Ramachandra
Featured image: Nezu Museum, Tokyo designed by Kengo Kuma; Photography Credits: Nawal Soofi