Balance Leads to Dynamic Solution for
By John Filippelli
ORLANDO, FL With homeowners increasingly seeking to unclutter their
hectic lives, designers must focus on creating kitchens and baths
that not only emphasize form and function, but balance and
contrast, as well. And, with a larger number of homeowners seeking
alternative design considerations for their living spaces,
designers must consider new options to meet these needs.
Although it is relatively unknown to some designers, the art of
Dynamic Symmetry, which combines elements of balance and movement
with geometry and nature, seems to be the right fit for those who
are willing to open their minds and their designs to its
possibilities. In fact, according to Mark Rosenhaus, CKD, of
Manhattan, NY-based Rosenhaus Design Group, who spoke about Dynamic
Symmetry’s kitchen and bath design implications at the recent K/BIS
here, the coming decade may well see Dynamic Symmetry having a
significant impact on kitchen and bath design.
Based on an ancient mathematical sequence known as the Fibonacci
numbers (a sequence of 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34etc. whereby
adding the two proceeding numbers equals the third number, and
dividing consecutive numbers produces 62%), Dynamic Symmetry is the
nucleus for a successfully balanced and aesthetically pleasing
design, Rosenhaus believes.
By relying on a foundation called the “proportion of shapes,”
the sequence enables designers to create a layout where the length
of one side of a cabinet is 62% of its adjacent length, providing
the basis for a stunning design that is also highly
“When you use these proportions, you use shapes that are very
pleasing to people,” he notes.
Rosenhaus believes that the principle of Dynamic Symmetry offers
enormous design potential, and he states, “Dynamic Symmetry’s
greatest value is that it suggests the vitality of life and
The main principle of Dynamic Symmetry is the “Golden Rectangle,”
Rosenhaus notes. The Golden Rectangle, which contains the 62%
width-to-length ratio, illustrates “geometry in art and nature,” he
“Golden Rectangle kitchen cabinets prove that unity does not mean
uniformity, and looking closely inside a Golden Rectangle will
reveal squares within rectangles and rectangles within squares,” he
Rosenhaus is also quick to note that despite the unique
proportions, Dynamic Symmetry does not require designers to
strictly use custom cabinetry for their designs. In fact, almost
any cabinetry or design theme can be used with Dynamic Symmetry and
will complement the design, if done correctly.
Another key point to Dynamic Symmetry is the way it generates
lines. Dynamic Symmetry provides visual movement, which removes the
risk of creating a static design. To generate lines, a designer
must create visual lines between particular points of shapes. When
the line passes from one corner to the other, it will set up the
eye to follow.
“The eye always wants to be directed, ” he stresses. “Using a
combination of ‘golden proportions’ and highlighting major points
of interest will reveal the pleasure of geometry in art.”
While Rosenhaus has mainly used the principle in upper kitchen
cabinets, he notes that designers can draw attention to base
cabinets via the diagonals and lines that are created from the
upper portion of the cabinet to the lower portion of the upper
cabinet or curves of the hood.
A Golden Rectangle can also be formed using negative space
within a design. Stressing the value of the ‘center of gravity’
within a design, Rosenhaus explains, “You don’t have to have
cabinets going straight up to the ceiling. For instance, you can
vary dimensions, applying the golden proportions [within cabinetry]
both horizontally and vertically, while the negative space puts the
entire thing into balance.”
Contrast in shapes is also important to the principle. As
Rosenhaus notes, “If you don’t have contrast, then you have no
Furthermore, he adds that color cannot be overlooked, either,
because it forces the designer and viewer to move in a certain
rhythm. This is particularly important, Rosenhaus explains, because
designs are three-dimensional and the color contrast enhances the
depth of the cabinetry.
While acknowledging that axial symmetry, or ‘simple symmetry,’
is adequate for smaller objects, Rosenhaus observes that, “at a
certain point, it becomes obvious and that can make axial
symmetry boring and predictable.”
To make axial symmetry work, Rosenhaus states that the points of
interest should lead the viewer’s eye to different
In contrast, Dynamic Symmetry enhances a client’s design and
helps designers avoid spaces that rely on a vertical line with two
objects equidistant from each other.
“We are so used to the modern version of axial symmetry that it
is what most [designers] fall into,” he notes.
“In kitchens, we design for the size of a person, so we can view
and interact from different vantage points.”
The principle can also be applied to the bath, Rosenhaus notes, as
a decorative enhancement for wall or floor tiles or cabinetry.
Summarizing the principle, Rosenhaus states, “Applying the use
of the Golden Rectangle of varying sizes will yield a design with
visual points of interest. The generating lines connecting these
points will lead the eye where to go more than you may have
realized on the drawing board.”
Dynamic Symmetry not only encourages designers to view designs
from a different perspective, it also offers them “a tool to
fine-tune the design,” Rosenhaus concludes.