Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Chevron Madness!

http://www.shutterstock.com/cat.mhtml?searchterm=chevron+patternYou’ve probably heard the phrase “what’s trending now…” which is  specifically directed to Twitter and followed by #Beyonce or #Justin_Beiber_baby_daddy, but if you ask the design world “what’s trending now?”, the answer would surely be chevron! Chevron* has been a hot design subject for the past year but this classic pattern is hardly recent news. Chevron, the geometric intersecting stripe pattern, not the gas station (this is not a blog about gas, sorry!), has a deep, rich history, and I’d like to say BSEID has admired its influence for quite some time - even before it was “trending”. You’ll probably agree once I point out where it’s been and who it’s been with. Now there’s some speculation to tweet about.

*Chevron is a pattern that occurs when equal zig zag stripes or pieces meet and are cut on an angle so the 'zig' meets the 'zag' along a perfectly straight axis making a point. Clear right? Crystal! Just view the images and you’ll know what I mean. Historically, chevron pattern can be seen in embroidery (such as upholstered walls dating back to the 16th century) and of course, in parquet flooring. Most of you have seen parquet floors even if you can’t recall it. Just remember junior dance in the school gymnasium. Yes, as you danced with your teenage dream you were gliding across parquet floors. Okay, now I’m dating myself. But before parquet was slapped down as the surface of every indoor dodge ball competition it held the high stature of gracing the elite palaces in ancient Hungry and the most luxurious and wealthy estates. Chevron and its counterpart Herringbone (another day, another blog) were the most common parquet patterns used. Chevron provided an outlet of creativity laid out on the floor. It became artwork and an art form.

One other historical tidbit about our beloved chevron before moving forward to the modern hot use for the structurally stunning pattern; it is an architectural term denoting the rafters of a roof meeting at an upper apex. Meaning: it gave the roof a lot of support. The military spun from this idea and the chevron was employed as a badge of honor to denote the head of the clan or "top of the house". One legend is that the chevron was awarded to a knight to show he had taken part in capturing a castle. Perhaps you have seen the badge of chevron on our proud US service men and women. Yes, now you love chevron that much more!

Today chevron is everywhere. From iphone covers and linens, to clothing and rugs. Personally, although I’m a fan of its reemergence and like to admire all the random use of zig zag, I prefer chevron displayed loud and clear: painted boldly on a wall, or in wallpaper, or let me see it in a finely installed on marble floor. Paying ode to the first craftsman and artist that turned the structurally sound pattern into one of design’s favorite elements.