There is a metaphor ‘the Shape of Things to come’ that alludes to the importance of shape.
In Feng Shui, shape is a very important tool – more important even than colour.
There are elongated, triangular, square/rectangular, round and wavy shapes. Each carries a different energy that contributes to the quality of a space. A certain shape can either make a space better or worse. The different shapes are associated with the Feng Shui Elements that describe the stages of transformation within the cycle of life.
Balance & Harmony
Balance and a harmonious flow of Qi – life energy, are the objectives of Feng Shui. For Qi to flow harmoniously, a dynamic balance of all Feng Shui elements needs to be present. Each space already contains certain elements inherently – through existing shapes, colours, directional and Yin and Yang energies unique to the building. Qi exists both in physical forms and intangible energies. We experience them via the feel of a place. A dominance of one element in the wrong place can cause Qi stagnation and reduce the life energy, ie, is ‘bad Feng Shui’.
To create a balance of all elements, we need to add the right elements – the ones missing in a harmonious flow of Qi. Sometimes this is one element, sometimes another. Likewise, placing the wrong element can make a place more stale, more irritating or sick. Elemental placement is particular and individual to a building.
Positive and negative shapes
Positive shapes are the shapes of objects and furniture. Here you have the choice of round or square tables, round or square planters, wavy or straight lamp stands, triangular or round leaves on plants, and so on.
There is however also negative space that is made up of the walls and things around us, creating the spaces we live in. The shape of these negative spaces is even more important. For examples there are square rooms and elongated spaces, long straight or meandering hallways. There are enclosed roundish areas in a garden or wide open spaces. Each have a different effect.
Shapes and their Qualities
Elongated shapes belong to the WOOD element. We should use these sparingly. They are a strong pushy Yang force that can attack and diminish existing positive energies, including the most radiant wealth energy. They can also agitate existent negative potentials and make them worse. It is better to bring in this energy through plants rather than shape.
Triangles should also not be used too much. They belong to the FIRE element and disperse things in an outward direction. A triangular room or building block loses energy, and if you are at the receiving end of a sharp triangular corner, it ‘attacks’ your life energy. Triangles are good for roofs as FIRE supports the EARTH energy of rectangular buildings, as long as they don’t attack anyone. When FIRE is needed we prefer to use colour.
Squares and rectangles belong to the EARTH element. They are positive building elements – a good shape for houses and rooms. EARTH energy conserves and nurtures. However, too much of it can be boring and it should be mixed with other elements.
Round and oval shapes belong to the METAL element. METAL is in perpetual motion and good for activity, business and movement – a dynamic shape in a space.
Wavy shapes belong to the WATER element. They are THE shapes for pathways, roads and hallways as they soften movement and enable energy to be distributed to the spaces surrounding it.
For furnishings and objects, shapes should balance the existing tangible and intangible Qi in a room and support its function.
The Right Balance
Which shapes to use depends firstly on the function of a space. Secondly, on the design and intangible energies present, which is the domain of advanced Feng Shui. We use shape to enhance positive energies and reduce the effect of any potentially negative influences.
Ideally, a building should be designed knowing its energies, so positive energies can be used for the doorways and important spaces where you spend time. Then, shape supports function as well as the inherent energies of the building. There is harmony and balance.