Thursday, January 25, 2018

Accentuate the Positive

TBO 36 with intentionally designed brick pattern patio
Oven is built on existing ledge outcrop

The following blog post arrives from my experience as a landscape designer and often applies to projects where a brick oven is being built.   

Perceiving an object requires that we distinguish it from its surroundings. The joke about a blank piece of paper being ‘a polar bear in a snowstorm’, applies to our perception.
Placement of TBO 36" in Ventura CA to frame view.
Oven is adjacent to home's kitchen
Painters and sculptors refer to positive and negative space. Positive space is the object we are able to perceive. Negative space is the background that allows us to see that object.

Siting the oven as a positive element is especially important with outdoor projects.

Positive and Negative space built into the oven design enhances the stonework
A yard or deck becomes 'complicated' when objects are placed on or next to it.  Choosing a location that doesn't 'interrupt' the space is important.  If the choice 'compliments' or 'enhances' the space, all the better.

Choice of stone color and shape accentuates the design.
We see the arch clearly because the stone is more formal
than the surrounding stonework

In landscapes, the tree is the positive and the sky is the negative.
Outdoor classroom by
Applying this to landscape design, we may choose to remove masses of confused greenery in order to accentuate a specimen tree. We may also take advantage of a mass of greenery by planting or building a contrasting form in front of it. We might ‘cut’ a hole in the greenery to form a dark shadow. Each of these changes creates the negative space needed to bring the desired focus to the design.

My former garden in Waterford, Maine

the house I designed and built in Lovell, Maine
Homes provide positive space; ponds and shadows negative space
Foreground plantings accentuate negative space.

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