My So Charmed Life

In Defense of Fast Design


Slow Design. I’m intrigued by this concept, but not sure I can fully embrace it. I thrill at my hyperspeed life/creative process and am clear that my relative pace does not negate things like reflection and engagement and expansion, not remotely. I’m just doing all of those things simultaneously and, at times, very quickly.

If by slow design, one could mean collecting and having supplies around in one’s life for years before bringing them together into yes meaningful)thing, then I am at times rather slow indeed. Lifetime Collections are (and become) Art. Or if by slow one could mean that 5 decades might contribute to one’s best creative work, I comply, absolutely. But as I contemplate this ideology (perhaps not slowly enough) I wonder about a caffeine-fueled manic session of creation; scissors, beads, lace and glue flying, sewing machine (well, yes, the machine is going ridiculously slow but only b/c I suck), and the distracted little artist barely stopping to eat or go to the bathroom… nothing about Slow seems to fit my scenario. Or have I bought the party line of speedspeedspeed/fasterfasterfaster? I don’t know… I love speed and I love what speed creates, even if it is messy, naive, and crappily manifested at times (see Sex Pistols, Ramones, Pollock & others).

Clearly, I’m still playing with (engaging in and reflecting upon, possibly expanding, evolving and definitely participating in) this conversation. If I had to come up with one word to replace the Slow in Slow Design, I would suggest Intentional. Intentional Design. I’m not sure Pace is really the most worthwhile defining term. I know, I’m kind of taking the semantic road here. Maybe the Slowists mean Slow As a State of Mind, rather than a physical pace? I don’t think I want any part in that either though, I’m afraid. Perhaps in my life as an artist, it’s an issue of Existential Pressure… but that, my dears, is another caffeine-fueled post for another caffeine-fueled time!

While the processes of Slow Design could rub me the wrong way (ok, there’s a very bad joke in there somewhere), the outcomes… pluralism, democratising, people over commerciality + many others) are noble things I do not disagree with. There might be many roads though… slow, fast, meandering, racing. A manifesto on pace just strikes me as a bit strange.

What do you think? Here is some food for thought, via SlowLab:

Six Principles of Slow Design.

1. Reveal: Slow design reveals spaces and experiences in everyday life that are often missed or forgotten, including the materials and processes that can easily be overlooked in an artifacts existence or creation.

2. Expand: Slow design considers the real and potential ‘expressions’ of artifacts and environments beyond their perceived functionality, physical attributes and lifespans.

3. Reflect: Slowly-designed artifacts and environments induce contemplation and ‘reflective consumption.’

4. Engage: Slow design processes are ‘open source’ and collaborative, relying on sharing, co-operation and transparency of information so that designs may continue to evolve into the future.

5. Participate: Slow design encourages users to become active participants in the design process, embracing ideas of conviviality and exchange to foster social accountability and enhance communities.

6. Evolve: Slow design recognizes that richer experiences can emerge from the dynamic maturation of artifacts and environments over time. Looking beyond the needs and circumstances of the present day, slow design processes and outcomes become agents of positive change.

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