An irregular, irreverent, post-modern account of the surreal, the ordinary, and the bizarre happenings on and around the Felia lavender farm in Crete

Monday, December 19, 2005


One of the little secrets of the Macintosh experience is, I think, key to the way this machine is perceived. It is one of those things that will go unremarked by most users although it will seldom be missed. One will know that it is there even though not quite being able to put one's finger on it. It is key to the very humanity of the Macintosh experience as opposed to the industrial feel of competing personal computers.

The radiused rectangle is what I am referring to here and it was the fact that the external structure of the iMac mirrors these radiused rectangles that drew my mind back to a fact that I had known and filed away in the recesses of my memory some years ago. The outside corners of the huge screen on the iMac are elegantly radiused so that there are no sharp edges to be seen. The inner corners that snugly enclose the screen itself are also rounded but with a tighter radius: almost as though the designers wanted to draw ones attention to the radiuses themselves. Inside that containing rectangle, look closely and one will notice consciously that every window, every containing rectangle that the Macintosh presents to us has beautifully, elegantly, humanely rounded outer corners and more tightly radiused internal corners.

The radiused rectangle is a very deep, an immanent, part of the Macintosh. It's origins are contemporary with the Mac interface. It is a design coup de theatre, and like all brilliant design strokes it is mostly invisible. There is about a rectangle with rounded corners something that invites the touch: that does not stimulate that edgy tension that sharp corners evoke with their implicit warning of danger; that, in short, comforts; something intrinsically human friendly. It shapes our relationship with our machine with its resonance of forms organic, making it more a natural entity and less a manufactured object. It allows us the illusion that the Mac itself could be a very part of us. It is an invitational signifier.

No comments:

Post a Comment