Saturday, 12 September 2015

PERSPECTIVE and all that stuff

PERSPECTIVE and all that stuff

I am back to work at the start of September with a new sense of energy and perspective.

(referring to the holiday period = time of year and not the weather)

I have had some perfect family time

I have read Stuffocation

I have visited Rome.

WORK is humming along nicely with some interesting new enquiries and a variety of exciting projects to get my teeth into.

All in all - given just a little more BRITISH SUN before Autumn sets in - life is good.

As an Interior Designer reading a book like 'Stuffocation' really got me thinking, particularly following on from a fascinating exhibition on 'What is luxury?' I attended earlier in the year at the V&A.

It seems that us humans in our materialistic society - having literally crammed all the stuff we can buy into our lives because it is available and affordable at every level and price point from couture to high street to supermarket... just because we can - are suddenly realising that stuff can't always make you happy...indefinitely

I say indefinitely because no-one can deny - particularly working in the industry I do -  that wonderful happiness that comes with new ownership

But this doesn't last. Very soon you will be longing for the next big thing

Wanting stuff (not needing it) is more of an obsession with feeling that new buzz
We humans are simple creatures - once we've experienced that rush of adrenaline we all - to a greater or lesser degree - want to re-create that happy place again...and again.

The thing is that, whilst you can interact with inanimate 'things' to a point, they do not make you feel as good as a night out with a close group of friends for example. 

The point Stuffocation makes is that human interaction, whether with each other or with the great outdoors makes us happier because not only do we live in the moment but we also lay down a memory that can be replayed as often as we like.

Why do you think we have tried to make inanimate 'things' interactive? (3-D for example?). It's because us humans are social creatures - we love to interact

And what do we do with all this 'stuff' once we've tired of it? 

We are contending with an ever-growing world population with a ever-developing hunger for stuff; an ever-growing access to technology which feeds the production of greater and different stuff; and an ever-growing global market to transport the stuff to those in want. 

There has without doubt over the last 10 or so years been a move towards creating recyclable items that won't leave a lasting mark on our planet but also, markedly, towards creating items with longevity born out of craftsmanship that earn their place on our littered planet and aren't just throwaway. 

This move towards owning beautiful objects that will last and require skill to make to some extent feeds that adrenaline kick, makes us think before we rush to buy (well unless spending a million a pop comes easy - the rise of the millionaire society is a whole other topic..); and means fewer but better made desirable objects of stuff.

But we've been here before:

Let me take you back to the era of William Morris and his reaction to the explosion of good stuff made available for the masses following on from the advent of machines and bloom of mass production - the innovation that keeps on giving, and giving.

William cautioned us then to only have in our homes that which we consider to be either 'beautiful' or 'useful' (ideally both).

Have we heeded him? Not really. 

Over and over again we get carried away with what can be produced using the latest technology. And technology is developing faster and faster...there will always be something 'new' born every second around the world and because of our incredible highly developed (and ever-developing) global interaction this is a flower that just keeps on blooming.

I wish I had your optimism James Wallman but remember the film 'Cast Away' and the poignant scene where FedEx whizz kid Tom Hanks gathers up the washed up parcels on the beach? 

Circumstances changed him and opened his eyes but then he was picked up by a tanker (full of stuff)... and life went on...

Those who have been able to afford to have what they want are the ones who are waving the flag for Stuffocation but coming up in the ranks is a constant supply of the next set blinking into the sunlight of a world full of things they can finally call their own.

We set something in motion a long time ago and when it goes off with a bang (and it will eventually) somebody somewhere will be left clutching a Jimmy Choo. 

I really hope that those shoes are comfortable.

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