Month: July 2016


What is it about nature that makes it so incredibly re-vitalising? What is it about the forest, the beach, the stream, and the mountains that draws us to them and restores us, breathes life into us?

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The Detail and the Devil. (Part 3 of 3)

(check out part 1 and part 2 first)

….And now to the detail, which has been a sticking point for me for some years, only now I have extra ammunition from Christopher Alexander to solidify my concerns. I would like to suggest that we don’t need detail until we need it, at which time we delve into it with fervour, never forgetting the wholes within which that detail sits. Premature detail is simply an imposition of pre-formed ideas onto a thing or a space. This imposition is essentially our cultures default version of design. We see something we like from the other side of the world; from a book, magazine, website or just from our own head, and we take that thing and impose it on our own situation. The details in such cases are always prematurely formed and necessarily disregard the reality of the situation at hand. This phenomenon is commonplace, it’s all around us; it is the norm in fact and it creates many problems.

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The Detail and The Devil. (Part 2 of 3)

(Read part 1 first)

Let me just start by saying that I was not only addressing my own shortcomings in the previous post. My doubts were not coming from lack of confidence or knowledge. They were, I believe, reflective of a deeply dysfunctional cultural understanding of what design is. There is something fundamentally wrong with the way most things produced today come into being, be they chairs and tables, or buildings and landscapes. Objects, buildings and the spaces within and between them have an influence on our experience of life. They can help to deepen our experience, help us feel more at home in our skin and more able to bring our gifts to light in the world. Unfortunately it is not common to be surrounded by things, spaces and places of this nature. This is not because we can’t create like this, but because we have stopped using and trusting processes that allow solutions to emerge from and for their context. Instead of creating special things with intense life born from deep function interlocked with deep beauty, we have been seduced by abstract concepts and obsessed with image and measurable outcomes.

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