In the past, large architectural structures were possessed with a spiritual power representative of their iconic and rare status. Similarly, very small historical objects such as jewellery and miniature books held a special place of importance due to the time, care and techniques needed to produce them. However, the contemporary era is one where the special context of these objects has been lost and similarly the processes required to produce them are ubiquitous. The sense of sacredness and focal purpose of large structures has been reduced by the democratization of construction. And in turn, the trend for miniaturization in electronics has produced an array of tiny yet profane and meaningless products. In spite of this, many objects from the past still exist today and possess values that ensure their continuation, and these objects will be studied for characteristics which relate to the human scale. In contrast, the contemporary situation is one where our relationship to human scale has been changed by living in an information society. Far distances can now be accessed immediately via technology, and much of our time is spent in a digital world where human scale is an abstract quality, and this effects the value we place on real world objects.
This research attempts to understand the sense of scale, defined as an objects size in relationship to our human senses, inherent in sacred and profane objects. A focus will be on products that mediate the human scale in a tangible sense, for example, furniture that reminds us of human height, width or weight. Objects that address optical and perceptual scale or distance shall also be explored, in order to show that that human scale is not just centred on the body but extends outwards to include many human senses. Finally, these topics will be analysed in the context of a specific method of sustainability, being the design and production of meaningful and long-lasting objects.