Some Place Like Home | V
What is considered beautiful is obviously subjective. However, many throughout history have aimed to break down the elusive attributes of visual appeal in some sort of quantifiable way. Herbert Gans attempted to do just that with the "taste structure" he outlined in his book Popular Culture and High Culture: An Analysis and Evaluation of Taste.
He breaks the general population into 5 taste groups:
1. High Culture - think of themselves as being taste-makers for the rest of the groups
2. Upper Middle Culture - try to copy high culture, while making modifications
3. Lower Middle Culture - Value traditions and not necessarily what's new
4. Quasi Folk Culture - this group is not catered to
5. Fringe Culture - seek alternative ways to express themselves
Gans is adamant that one group is no better than the other and that designers do best when they can cater to multiple groups. Sometimes groups clash. Israel explains "...designers may rail against attempts to pander to popular taste. Wrestling with similar conflicts, dwellers may cling to traditional or familiar taste patterns, or, alternatively, reject taste they actually feel comfortable with in order to appear more fashionable." I think this quote just about sums up the relationship between interior designer and client.