Friday, April 06, 2007

Aichaku, Porsche and IF

In an effort to up my sustainability quotient (!), I'm trying to switch my love and affection from this club racer . . .

to this club racer . . .

Not that I can afford either.

On a related note, I've been reading The Laws of Simplicity by John Maeda. I thought it was going to be just another throw away business book with not much to it. But less (than 100 pages) is sometimes more. There's a section that's worth reporting in the above context. Maeda comments on modernism compared to Japanese design. He notes the surface similarities but points out that "a hidden fact of Japanese design" is its animistic theme. Objects are accorded their own spiritual existence and imbued by the user with a life force that is "a kind of deep, hidden ornamentation known to only those who feel it." He says that the Japanese term aichaku is for this sense of attachment one can feel for an object. He notes that "acknowledging the existence of aichaku in our built environment helps us to aspire to design artifacts that people will feel for, care for, and own for a lifetime."

Porsche accomplishes this. IF (Independent Fabrication) gets it. Does your company? Are the products you buy or create made in such a way that they elicit care and affection from their users? Although it would seem hard to link a high end car company that's a lot about power and road performance to simplicity and sustainability, creating products that people care about enough to maintain and sustain their lifespans indefinitely, rather than throw them away, is part of creating a sustainable future.
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