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When I first learned about the so-called Golden Mean or Golden Section I was enthralled by the concept. I actually remember the moment. I was in the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., in 1996 and just discovering that some of the geometry I learned in junior high actually had a use.

The Golden Section is a ratio (approx 1:1.618) that crops up in nature (such as the shell of a nautilus), Audrey Hepburn’s face and anywhere Elvis is sighted.

It also is supposed to turn up in great furniture and buildings. My efforts at designing furniture using the Golden Section or exploring furniture using the ratio as a guide always proved frustrating. Finding the Golden Section in great works is possible , if you looked in the right places, included parts of mouldings or excluded stiles or otherwise stretched the rules.

Now I’m not saying the Golden Section doesn’t exist, any more than the Trilateral Commission doesn’t exist or that a metal colander isn’t handy for blocking the transmissions from the mother ship.



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