Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Postcards from Paris part four "Tres Chic Triangular!"

Garden just outside of Napoleon's Tomb- an example of living architecture
Obelisk shapes abound around Paris- here's one near a bridge spanning the Seine
Controversial I M Pei designed pyramid at the Louvre- I actually like this contrast

The most famous, and most obvious, triangle in all of Paris- and lovely to see day n' night

When walking around Paris, it's kind of hard not to notice all of the terrific architecture, monuments and gardens lending this city its stunning style and grace...

One aspect about life that I personally so enjoy is the connective, thematic element within it. This was something that I studied in the Masters of Humanities degree I just finished-up last December. My Master's Thesis was along these lines and its title was: "Towards a Synthesis of the Postmodern Individual Aesthetic Within an Environmentally Globalized Worldview- cultivating our societal construct's coexistance with the natural world." Yeah, a bit of a long title but a great project that I had so much fun developing, researching and writing about. What various connective threads go along throughout not only history and cultural evolvement are always ever-fascinating to me but also quite interesting are those threads wending along within the literal nuts. bolts, bricks and morter that physically make-up a place. I'm a huge fan of the Art Nouveau movement with its dwelling on the beauty and design functionality of nature reinterpreted for human utilization and inspiration. I brought home a book about Art Nouveau sites in Paris and already am enjoying perusing through it. Seeing in person one of the iconic Metro entrances styled in Art Nouveau's verdigris green patina was a definite highlight of this past week in Paris!

I may write another postcard just about Parisian Art Nouveau but this postcard is actually about the sighting of triangular shapes around the city. I kept noticing this all around- obviously with the Eiffel Tower being the iconic, and most noticible, triangular shape in Paris but also other things as well.

The triangle showed-up again and again in the shaped boxwood and other dense foilage around Paris; literal living architecture. A clever and very cleaned-line use of nature that added both a modern feel to place and time as well as harking back to the formal gardens of the past influenced by the Italians and then carried-over into both France and England as a style trend.

Psychologists say that individuals are influenced to some degree by the physical shape that they are as to their inclinations towards preferring one shape over others. In general, then according to this, tall and thin people would be attracted to tall, thin columns perhaps whereas maybe people who are smaller on the top half of their bodies but flare-out larger on the bottom half may be visually-attracted to triangle shapes. Interesting theory!

However it's been played-out over time and no doubt a myriad of influences, there's a definite triangular ethos going on here in Paris...


  1. Lac~

    Really enjoyed the observations you shared in this post, and the photos, of course! I found your paragraph about the human propensity for choosing shapes that mirror our own very interesting. I also think that's why so many couples look as if they could be brother and sister...most of us are hardwired to pick what we know, what is familiar. Time and again we gravitate toward what we know. This is never more evident than in a classroom. When there are no assigned seats, students will naturally segregate themselves by gender and race. Girls with the girls, boys with the boys, those of a particular ethnicity will sit near someone of the same ethnicity nine times out of ten.

  2. Hi V!

    So glad that you enjoyed this post and it was fun to see the connective-threads and mull about those a bit...

    I laugh about James and I because we're SO incredibly "mutt n' jeff" opposites in our looks from height, body styles, hair and eye colors, facial structure and then there's my 2 brothers who look like "twinsies" with their wives.

    Fascinating about the school classrooms...

    Best, Lachlan