In today’s divided and volatile world, we need an outside-the-box, upending of values in order to achieve happiness. 100 years after the Bauhaus, the “Less is more” economy explores an abundant and fulfilling life by moving away from material/financial excess in order to unleash our true potential. Good-bye to the draining and endless competition for “more,” and good-bye to economic efficiency. It’s time to embrace our inherent power and resilience to start designing our own happiness.
Modern designers in the early 20th century embraced the notion of “less is more,” which revealed two sides of the same coin – the Jekyll-and-Hyde like character of “more,” and the surprisingly pure, natural and relatable quality of “less.” Find out how people’s relentless pursuit of economic growth often led to catastrophic results, and how people reacted to them resiliently to re-discover the power of “less.”
We live in the most affluent society in history today. Then why are we feeling so divided, anxious and angry? It’s because our economy has a furious desire to control the entire planet using its lethal weapon: efficiency. It’s time to check if this is bringing us a sustainable happiness, because plenty of information and wisdom tells us that we are now heading towards the next global-scale crisis.
Efficiency is about rewarding winners, which pits all of us against each other in fierce competition and division. But we are not ready to give up on efficiency, believing that it bring us “more,” which automatically bring us happiness. But is this true? Discover the real face of the “more” delivered by the efficiency-first economy, which is actually unable to address people’s higher needs such as love, esteem or self-accomplishment.
It turns out that an economic system is, by design, driven by instinct and selfishness. As efficiency aggressively advances its agenda, “more” is unavoidably turned into “less,” and competition intensifies. It is finally time to “upgrade” our economy into a happiness-generating platform where we can exchange those things we really care about and seek. But how do we do that? We can start it by replacing efficiency with “design.”
A big question for the “Less is more” economy: will producing and consuming “less” shrink the economy and result in massive job losses? What kind of jobs are being created by today’s aggressive economy? Are they relatable and accessible? Are they making you happy? What is a job anyway?
The exhibition “Tadao Ando: Endeavors” held at the National Art Center, Tokyo in 2017 was a comprehensive compilation of Ando’s energetic work that stretches over 50 years, including the replica of the “Church of the Light,” the installation of the Naoshima Project, the Row House of Sumiyoshi, Punta della Dogana and the Shanghai Poly Grand Theatre.