What I confirmed at Dwell Los Angeles 2017: restrictions are the mother of beauty. We usually consider restrictions as negative elements. Especially in the context of modern economy and technology, restrictions are the enemy of limitless potential – which could bring us stress-free, pain-free, happy and comfortable life. Restrictions need to be overcome and eliminated.
But if you dig deeper, you would soon remember that restrictions are actually part of natural environment. Humans have been living surrounded by restrictions for hundreds of thousands of years. And just like we made necessity the mother of invention, humans have developed amazing resilience to adapt to restrictions, work through them, and let beauty emerge from them. Exactly because there are limiting factors, we think, tinker and create. And when there’s creation, there’s beauty.
At Dwell 2017, I found three shining “limiting factors” that unleashed people’s creativity to let beauty emerge: smallness, decay (recycling) and inefficiency. We are starting to embrace restrictions again, not only because tiny house is trending, or sustainability is now a mainstream concept. There is something more profound: we must be in the middle of re-defining how we approach happiness, and how we leverage design to achieve an engaging, enjoyable and fulfilling life.
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