While working on my own wabi-sabi this week, I came across the work of friend Carolyn Strauss and her partner in slowLab – Alastair Fuad-Luke – on page 30-31 of Simply Imperfect: Revisiting the Wabi-Sabi House.

I was reminded of the importance of these six principles:

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 artifact’s 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 both preservation and transformation.

“Slow Design’s manifesto urges designers to ‘satisfy real needs rather than transient fashionable or market-driven needs’ by:

Creating moments to savor and enjoy the (human) senses
Designing for space to think, react, dream and muse
Designing for people first, commercialization second
Balancing the local with the global and the social with the environmental
Demystifying and democratizing design by reawakening individual’s own design potential
Catalyzing social transformation toward a less materialistic way of living”

This seems like a great place to start with any project.

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