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exploring design theory PHi the Golden Rule Imperial Productions ®

 Design Proportions

 PHi "The Golden Rule"

 a ratio of the natural order







 Design Proportions and Guidelines

We are often asked about the proportion of component placement in various applications.  For example, how big should a ceiling medallion be in reference to the chandelier, or how large should columns be.   In the photo you can see that the boiserie or moulding has a 1/3rd - 2/3rds ratio.


There are natural proportions that one should adhere to, however like all design projects it is also a matter of application and taste.  Sometimes one looks at a presentation and says...


"I just can't put my finger on what is wrong"

 well this is because the designer has ignored the natural order of 1/3 to 2/3 ratio known as "Phi the Golden Rule". Let's explore the origins of the Phi.   

                                                                                     Martin Richards Design



 What is the Golden Rule (PHi)


  PHi (1.618)

 The Ancient Greeks around 300 BC realized that there was a ratio that represented the natural proportions of both humans and art / architecture.  


 In simple terms, it is approximately a 1/3rd to 2/3rds ratio. This calculation is handy in sizing Medallions, dividing walls with wainscoting and Boiserie or dividing columns, cabinetry etc.





 How To Size a Medallion for a chandelier ? 

Ceiling Medallions were created as fire barriers in the early 1800's when lighting was either oil, gas, or candle power.  To avoid fires they were made of non combustible plaster.  As a design precedent they are always larger than the lighting fixture.  If they are the same size as the light fixture they simply look wrong and this effect is amplified the higher the ceiling


  Here is a simple calculation to guide you 

  multiple widest part of the chandelier  by 38.2 % 


  Sizing is based on the Golden Rule called PHi

  This is the ratio calculation PHi (1.618) 


  Here is a simple example calculation to consider

  1- (.618) = (.382)  ie 38.2%

  This keeps within the Golden Rule of Phi


  18" chandelier (widest point) x 1.38 = a 25 inch medallion


  No rules rule so select 29", 25" or what ever matches your design


  Always remember that when you view the medallion mounted on the

  ceiling it will appear much smaller from your perspective at a lower level

  By selecting one that uses the  golden rule calculation, it will appear to

  be the right size with the correct visual distortion with higher ceilings





 Enlarging an Existing Medallion



 Medallion and

 Expansion Ring








  Expansion Rings


  To enlarge an existing ceiling medallion or add to a new one,

  simply add a ceiling expansion ring to achieve the PHi ratio.



  Link to Expansion Rings



  Learn more click here=> learn about the history of the medallion



 Using the Golden Rule for Column Sizing

   coming soon




     Go Back to the Main Page





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