The nautilus shell was chosen as Vonder’s logo because it is full of wonderful symbolism. The inside of this fascinating shell could be seen as one of the first interiors ever made: a natural habitat in which all the proportions are perfect.
A type of octopus, the nautilus – which is Greek for ‘sailor’ – is unique in carrying its shell on the outside, and it is found only in the western part of the Pacific Ocean. The smooth mother-of-pearl shell can grow to up to 30cm in diameter. Inside the shell is a spiral. The octopus begins as a small creature and forms a shell of chalk around itself. After exactly 28 days of growth, mirroring the cycle of the moon, it climbs out of this shell chamber and starts making a new one. Hence, the number of chambers increases as the mollusc grows in size. Each chamber is the same shape as the one before, only it is 6.3% larger. The shell is not only a safe haven; by letting more or less water into the shell, the nautilus can propel itself forwards, upwards or downwards.
The Fibonacci sequence
The spiral inside the nautilus shell is a beautiful example of the so-called ‘Fibonacci sequence’, named after Leonardo van Pisa, whose nickname was Fibonacci. This sequence begins with two numbers, 0 and 1. The numbers that follow are always the sum total of the previous two numbers: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, etc. What makes this sequence so special is that the numbers ‘grow’, as it were, from within – nothing is added from outside. Many examples of this spiral can be found in nature, such as in sunflowers, pine cones and even in galaxies, and it appears to be an important way of transferring energy. The Fibonacci sequence forms the mathematical basis for the ‘golden mean’.
The golden mean
The golden mean has been used in architecture and decorative art for centuries. Following the examples of the likes of Fibonacci, famous architects such as Palladio (1508-1580) and Scamozzi (1548-1616) registered the mathematical application of harmony and ratios in treaties and regulations.