Behind the Swirl
The hpe Swirl graphic was born out of many thumbnail sketches and concepts in an attempt to articulate our artistic sensibilities in the engineering field. To us, architectural engineering is a synthesis of artistry and technology. To a certain extent one might say that architects approach this synthesis from a qualitative perspective; whereas, engineers approach it from quantitative perspective. The best results — we find — come when the participants in a design process operate from the center of this synthesis between systems and aesthetics. As such, our symbol for hpeGROUP started out as a symbol for a pump, then for a fan and finally for a motor on an electrical single-line diagram… we started our approach from the technical side of the equation. However, something was missing. We needed to express the context of this technology. And thus the Swirl was born… it is an aesthetic interpretation of the inherent mechanistic mindset of our profession.
It is interesting to note that the swirl itself was created by taking a paintbrush and some watercolors with various holding techniques, brush pressures to get a variety of options. This “craft” of generating the artistic interpretation of an engineering symbol was inspired by, John Ruskin, the influential proponent of the Arts & Crafts movement that started in the late 1900s. We believe that our engineering profession is ultimately best served by master craftsman which led us to our partner based practice. Yet still we see our craft within the context of the architecture; and so the final selection from a field of 100 swirls was ultimately a purely aesthetic choice.