Cutting Corners

By Tim Clarke, Managing Director, OMS

Cutting corners is not usually considered a good thing, more often, the complete opposite. However, let me put some thoughts forward that suggest cutting corners might not be as bad as you think, in fact, there are instances where doing so might be beneficial.

Does it annoy you as it does me that designers of pathways quite often assume everyone would prefer to go straight and then abruptly turn at 90 degrees?

I loved the story of a company that deliberately created a recreational area and then allowed people to go wherever they wanted in the space. After some time had passed, the company noted those areas that had been subjected to heavier traffic, opting to put the paths in these preferred locations. You can guarantee that there was not a single bend in sight. On account of this finding, there was no need to cut corners.

In design and engineering, and indeed many areas of life, there are ‘natural solutions’ to the problems we encounter. The trick is to find them and work with nature, human or otherwise, or with materials or constraints to create those solutions that are most intuitive and pleasing to the senses.

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