Art And Modularity

Modular Design Art Projects.
Also functional art, modular design puts design in the forefront when creating useful , user-friendly products. Seen often in kitchens to minimize space and furniture to maximize simplicity , modular design allow a user to use the space of the object to store other object.


Modular art
mathematics is the study of patterns. One of the ways in which we may use number patterns is in creation of unique and artistically pleasing design.


Modulaity in the fine arts.
Robert Rauschenberg's of 1951; consisting of just four equal white squares, whith its geometry of interloking forms, is among the earliest statements of modularity as an autonomous subject of art


modularity enters fhe modern artistic repertory largery the disciplines of industrial design and arhitecture


Sara Manente e Anna Fabbri

Modularity in art:

It occurs when several basic elements (modules) are combined to create a large number of different (modular) structures.

Modularity in maths:

In various fields of mathematics, the search modularity is the recognition of sets of basic elements, construction rules and the exhaustive derivation of different generated structures.

This is an example of modularity


But we can see some examples of modularity in every day life…


This is a camping.


This is a modular structure made of leaves, they are usually covered by solar panels and with their activity they produce energy.

It is an example of modularity in design: it is a sofa.

it is an example of modular polychromy in modern art.

This is a floor which looks like a puzzle.

As the modularity will be considered the use of several basic elements (modules) for constructing a large collection of different possible (modular) structures. In science, the modularity principle is represented by search for basic elements (e.g., elementary particles, prototiles for different geometric structures…). In art, different modules (e.g., bricks in architecture or in ornamental brickwork…) occur as the basis of modular structures. In various fields of (discrete) mathematics, the important problem is the recognition of some set of basic elements, construction rules and an (exhaustive) derivation of different generated structures.
This are the elementary particles, prototiles for different geometric structures… :


And this are the bricks in architecture or in ornamental brickwork… :


In a general sense, the modularity principle is a manifestation of the universal principle of economy in nature: the possibility for diversity and variability of structures, resulting from some (finite and very restricted) set of basic elements by their recombinations. In all such cases, the most important step is the first choice (recognition or discovery) of basic elements. This could be shown by examples from ornamental art, where some elements originating from Paleolithic or Neolithic art are present till now, as a kind of "ornamental archetypes".
Basic elements:


Recombinations :


ornamental archetypes :


One of the first modular elements: black and white square. There is no neolithic or any later ornamental art without it (see, D.K.Washburn, D.W.Crowe: Symmetries of Culture, University of Washington Press, Seattle and London, 1988; S.V.Jablan: Theory of Symmetry and Ornament, Mathematical Institute, Belgrade, 1995); a possible origin of the swastika symbol. Ornaments (right) are obtained by overlaping of the basic ornaments (left) :


Source :

Modular structures could be define with algorithms…..

In many cases, the derivation of discrete modular structures is based on symmetry. Using the theory of symmetry and its generalizations (simple and multiple antisymmetry, colored symmetry…) for certain structures, it is possible to define algorithms and obtain some formula for their enumeration.

ANYWAY, there are some examples of modular structures which combine art and mathematics:

Space tiles


Knot tiles

It means different knot projections occurring in knotwork designs (Islamic, Celtic,…) derived from the regular and uniform plane tessellations by using few basic elements.


Op (optical) tiles

Antisymmetry ornaments and their derivation from few prototiles, as well as the algorithmic approach to their generation.


Could you see the grey spots between the black lines?


Is the first white circle bigger than the other one?
"Things are not always what they seem"
Anna Fabbri e Sara Manente

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License