Tiles and Patterns of a Field: From Byzantine Churches to User Interface Design

Asaf Degani, Ron Asherov, Peter J. Lu
Proceedings of Bridges 2012: Mathematics, Music, Art, Architecture, Culture (2012)
Pages 175–182 Regular papers


Analysis of geometrical tile patterns from the 5th century (Petra, Jordan) and 14th century (Natanz, Iran) shows how coherent perceptual units are "picked up" by a viewer. For every pattern we identify the "basic" or smallest polygon that can generate the pattern, a polygon grid that can "float" over the pattern, as well as the smallest rectangular tile ("practical tile,") that can be used as a template to physically construct patterns. We then make the link between patterns and interface design, showing how patterns can be used to "house" data and information. A proposed helicopter engine display, inspired by a 15th century tile pattern (from Gazarghah, Afghanistan), is used to illustrate the approach.