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Golden mean set design

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B Giordano
906840.  Fri May 04, 2012 8:09 pm Reply with quote

Can I ask anyone who is interested why the set design which so strongly identifies the show, gets the golden section-derived spiral so utterly wrong? Is this a deliberate piece of general ignorance?

B Giordano
906843.  Fri May 04, 2012 8:23 pm Reply with quote

Since posting I have visited a piece elsewhere on this site which obfuscates courageously on the subject of the "golden spiral" but sadly shows some drawings that entirely misrepresent Fibonacci's golden section and the spiral derived from it. In particular I note that these diagrams seem to consist entirely of rectangles. This is clearly a mistake. It is the squares (sectioned off the rectangles and leaving smaller rectangles as a remainder) which should be used to create quadrant arcs which when connected, make up the spiral.

906845.  Fri May 04, 2012 8:25 pm Reply with quote

Welcome to the forums, B Giordano :-)

B for Bruno, perhaps?

Love the quibble but will leave it for somebody who knows more about these things than me to answer it.

906846.  Fri May 04, 2012 8:31 pm Reply with quote

Seems a fair enough observation

as opposed to

906920.  Sat May 05, 2012 6:29 am Reply with quote

The set designer, one Jonathan Green, has a blog which talks about the QI set, here:

There is a post back from May 2009, which includes a few sketches of the spirals around the desks.

The question of why these are not golden spirals has come up a couple of times in the past, and the answer seems to have always been: who said they were meant to be?

It would seem obvious to me that the dimensions of the spirals were made to conform with the size of the set, not the other way round, so it would have rather a coincidence for them to be golden. Indeed if they were, the proportion of the desks would look odd since they'd have to be much higher.

Oceans Edge
907038.  Sat May 05, 2012 1:30 pm Reply with quote

One might say for the sake of argument, that the use of an iconic image, such as the Golden Spirals or Da Vinci's Vitruvian Man, that it must be either deliberately and obviously satirical - such as the Coen Brother's Vitruvian Dude, or it must be correct.

I'd postulate that unfortunately the use of the spirals on the set, are neither. Hence the quibbles.

Sadurian Mike
907080.  Sat May 05, 2012 4:13 pm Reply with quote

The set design was done by a professional graphic designer. I'm sure that they knew what constitutes a 'proper' Golden Spiral and would have made a conscious decision to alter it to produce the set design.

Graphic designers do get taught that sort of thing. I went to Art College and learnt it myself at Foundation level, so I am on fairly safe ground that this professional knew what he was doing.

Oceans Edge
907098.  Sat May 05, 2012 6:11 pm Reply with quote

that was kind of my point

But I accept the possibility that I tend to be a bit pedantic (I know! I know! Say it ain't so!) about the correctness of things* and not everyone is quite as stick in the mud as I am about there being a right way and a wrong way to do something. Hence, my qualifying my comment with "One might say for the sake of argument."

(*not sure whether that was an occupational hazard, or the occupation existed because of the hazard, but there's a whole philosophical diatribe there that probably is best kept to myself.)

907134.  Sun May 06, 2012 4:57 am Reply with quote

I still don't understand why golden spirals are more "correct" than logarithmic spirals of any other ratio. No one said they were, or were meant to be, golden spirals. Hence, the fact that they aren't golden spirals isn't, to my mind, a problem.

The only quibble here comes from people who are making the assumption that any spiral of that general shape was obviously meant to be a golden spiral. Which seems to me to be baseless.

Oceans Edge
907196.  Sun May 06, 2012 8:28 am Reply with quote

Not really - any sprial of that general shape would have been fine, and probably quite quibbleless - but by using the rectangles instead of the squares, by using lines applied in the way that is iconically known as 'Golden Spirals', it feels like it's trying to invoke the interesting bit of mathematics that is a golden spiral. It's not the use of a spiral, but the use of an ICONIC spiral image.. and then changing it/tinkering with it to make it fit the use that grates.

But then again I used to be this person:

I'm better now.

907307.  Sun May 06, 2012 2:59 pm Reply with quote

And that is getting to be an iconic image in itself these days.

907444.  Mon May 07, 2012 3:46 am Reply with quote

Now that you've pointed it out - I thought the shapes were meant to be circles - they've got it soo wrong (just like Fibonacci).

Fortunately, you can see that the set designer is jus messin wid our heads... because he's got a whole series of circles so right in the halo above Mr Fry's head...


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