CHANGE IS GOOD – The captivating fascination for transformation
Holding her tears in, Rosalyn whispers to her lover: “I don’t like change. It’s really hard for me. Sometimes I think that I’ll die before I change”. It was Jennifer Laurence, with fear in her eyes in the movie American Hustle.
The absurd constant of change keeps the designer alive, as well as the architect and the creative too. A creative mind relishes the evolution of needs, identifying new opportunities for serving mankind. The creative head is peaceful in the chaotic and unpredictable landslide of debris and details that make personal lives and social interactions.
After all, humans are liquids in motion: perfectly adapting to the shape of a container but assuming unpredictable shapes when granted freedom of expression. We preach for rationality, we structure our world with solid and strict rules, but our choices follow visceral instincts, primary needs, hard to grasp, hidden in the depths of our mind, leaving us a little ashamed.
And within this strange balance, we find the expression of design at its best, at its maximum potential. We are going through such perfectly balanced times that it seems quite the opposite of a harmonious moment. It’s an uncertain and risky period, we are helpless, it all seems to slip away beyond our control: there’s anger, frustration, concern, fear. New rules to follow, new emotions to handle. A perfect equilibrium.
It is the time for designers, the chaos enthusiasts, filling their notebooks with sketches now that entire populations talk about new needs, new habits and new sensations without hesitation. Analysing, pondering, speculating to produce new solutions, new products and new design languages.
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So we’re forced to re-design the interaction between people: the looks, the talks, the physical contact. Psychologists, experts and researchers have spent the last 10 years explaining to us that virtual interactions are misleading and incomplete: our mind will do everything possible to fill the physical gap since non-verbal communication (looks, contact, posture, expression) has a substantial impact on the words we speak.
And now what? New viewpoints, new approaches: we work remotely and we must keep productivity high re-designing digital tools and transforming the way we collaborate, exchange opinions and build relations among us humans, us complex beings.
Change is good, remember that. At times it seems like we are going through the “COVID-19 Global Society Accelerator Program” as if we needed divine intervention to push us towards some substantial changes that were in the air for some time. Work is flexible and goal-oriented, not based on the amount of hours spent in the office, there is more time for family and personal interests, suburbs and rural areas are rediscovered and developed. Businesses destined to fail go through assisted suicide, while those meant to thrive experience exponential growth.
We make the most out of the time we’ve given. Case studies, performance assessments, data collection and aggregation: we study the past looking for meaning. Estimates, scenarios, planning and forecasting: we look for the future, aiming to control it. All we have left is acting now, fully involved in the present: something different from what we experienced in the past and what we might live in the future.
Designers, the change enthusiasts, navigate the unknown: forced to live the present, with the marks of the past and the mind in the future. Ready for another leap in the void, the shiver keeps them alive, standing on the edge of the cliff and staring into the abyss, without a clue if they will fall or float, if they will learn to roll or surf on the clouds, no option is left: they just ought to jump.
This article was written for the November 2020 edition of the printed journal of Mirage, Italian company designing and producing porcelain stoneware.
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