What is it about twins that is so intrinsically settling (the above image notwithstanding)?

Pairs hold a mystical place in our collective lexicon. You’ll find twins in the mythologies of many cultures around the world. In some they’re seen as ominous, in others they’re seen as auspicious. Often seen as two halves of the same whole, twins legendarily share a bond deeper than that of the run-of-the-mill siblings. Simply put, twins represent the dualistic nature of the universe.

Twins also find their place in the built world. The stable use of “the pair” in the design has always been a balancing element – a sort of leveling of the scales. Symmetry would certainly not exist without it. Also, there’s something about the presence of twos that seem to tame chaos. No matter what visual shenanigans are going on, steady twosomes anchor and buoy a rocking boat even in the roughest of waters.






Dining room



Greg Tankersley,



  1. Gaines Blackwell says:

    Greg, I am impressed ! the two stools with the crossed hoofed animal legs were first designed by Robsjohn Gibbons, an English architect and furniture designer for the firm Widdicomb in London. They were based on archaeological findings and very accurate.. Rarely seen today. The last shot is a nice modern interpretation of a Greek Klismos but you know all this. Brings back old teaching memories.

  2. Tiffany Gieser says:

    As the mother of identical twins girls (6), this post certainly grabbed my attention! Whether decorating in pairs or mothering pairs, the reward is always worth the investment. I’ve noticed that twins bring a quick smile to strangers whenever we’re out and about and seniors, especially, tend to approach without reserve to talk and joke with my little ladies. Perhaps the universe took note of my love affair with book ends and decided to gift me with two miniature pillars of my own. While I wish they helped to contain the chaos in my environment, at this age, they’re mostly just creating it ;). I absolutely adore McAlpine’s work and writing – from all of you. Thank you for sharing your poetry with the world!

  3. Kass Wilson says:

    I love this article. It reminds me of the Yin Yang symbol which represents the power of 2. Together they have an outcome where the whole is greater than the individual parts. The joining of the two creates balance an perfect harmony.

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