Patterns: Herringbone (opus spicatum)

Pronunciation: ˈher-iŋ-ˌbōn

Translation: “fabric of joy”

Usage: referred to as “opus spicatum”, sometimes as a "chevron"

History: Roman, Medieval, Italian Renaissance, Gothic Revival

Pattern type: Geometric

Herringbone is a geometric pattern consisting of parallel rows in which an adjacent row runs in a perpendicular direction. It is a type of patterning that requires one row to be precisely ninety degrees from the adjacent row, and anything less is not a true herringbone pattern. Modern uses of herringbone would be less geometric and more stylistic, and, although they are not true ninety degree meeting points, they could be considered an exception in large scale use; otherwise they're just another type of pattern. Minimal uses, such as up to three to five single rows of this type of pattern, would be referred to as a Chevron pattern which is more of a crest or insignia.

Herringbone was first used in Roman times as pavement patterns, or infill in walls. This 'spiked work' (opus spicatum) is very week when used as a vertical structure member because natural forces cause collapse, but when used as a single layer for flooring or pavement it adds extreme depth and dimension to an otherwise typical brick-work (subway) pattern.

For more inspiration, visit my Pintrest Board - Herringbone.

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