On my return home from a recent visit to Bolivia, I was immediately compelled to walk through my house with a black sack and remove everything unnecessary. The clutter and the collections seemed excessive and useless. I felt empty on the things that filled up my home.
An intolerable surge of information, over-saturating our streams of consciousness on a daily basis, has sent the majority of us searching for a more minimal lifestyle. Approaching the idea of going back to the basics, equipped with our modern knowledge and awareness of what’s relevant, has us now redefining what it means to create or enjoy something ‘minimal’.
Long gone is the concept of ‘minimal’ meaning ‘poor’ or ‘of minimum amount’. In this modern day our ethos and values are shifting. Minimal is now something we seek out. Dematerialisation is now a new movement. With fashion cycles moving through trends as quickly as they do, there is a desperate need for something new – not recycled, not derivative, but new and clean and honest.
People are now opting to live with ‘smarter design’ over ‘more design’. Architects are creating free downloadable plans for kitset homes, and light sculptures and fittings are now being absorbed into the structure of a room, hidden away, eliminating any unnecessary noise and clutter. And we have exchanged our ownership of alarm clocks, diaries, and address books for one simple and clever smartphone.
The rejection of excessive material objects has us craving three-dimensional experiences instead. Now we celebrate the idea of ‘wanderlust’, ‘the wilderness’, and ‘adventure’. We are also beginning to re-seek out localisation, from people and craft to land and produce. This new way of thinking and operating stirs up a positive change within our society. It has us heading towards a future in which we are active as a whole, not individually.
With our destiny in the hands of designers, makers and creators with their knowledge, their tools and their skills to craft our way into the future, let’s direct them, via our actions as a consumer, to put their machines to better use, not to confuse, or overload or make us feel powerless, but to help us and to enlighten our day to day living.
Here’s to making smart, functional and enjoyable products.