“Design is not just what it looks like, it’s how it feels.” – Steve Jobs
It is always great fun to see a dramatic transformation of any kind.
We are drawn to the vast, varied array of “Before” and “After” images that populate our televisions, computers, magazines, and everyday experiences. Witnessing a metamorphosis sparks in us the reminder – the knowing – that, we, too, are capable of great change. We can shape something from nothing. Add color and form to a blank canvas. Recreate our lives, our thinking, and/or our bodies anew.
We can begin with a simple idea or intention for what it is we want to create. From there, the possibilities are endless, and we are limited only by the edges of what we can imagine.
The crucible in which the vision becomes manifest is one of great design. Regardless of any constraints (or perhaps because of them), a great design can bring to life new form that, as Steve Jobs would assert, elevates us, connects us, and makes us feel certain emotions. How a product, service, or space is designed has the power to positively impact how we feel, think, move, and interact with the world around us.
I recently had the pleasure of visiting a property that had undergone a total transformation – so much so, that the building was barely recognizable to me. Only the original exterior walls of the structure remained; every single other detail had been rethought, redesigned, and redone.
I stood in the doorway and felt my lower jaw sink. I stared, blinked rapidly, and tried to absorb and process what I was witnessing. Every square foot was sheer genius. Clever. Fresh. Beautifully executed. When I looked at the gentleman’s face while he told me the story of the design, I saw his pride and true enjoyment of the process and finished product.
Every inch, literally, represented a design challenge answered with grace and creativity.
What this gentleman had created was beyond an aesthetic experience; he had created a visceral reaction to form, function, color, texture, and lines. I wanted to touch the counter tops, place my bare feet on the flooring in the bathroom, and work under the light fixtures over table. I could see myself in front of the Zen fireplace, staring out the windows, and cooking in the kitchen.
I felt a zingy energy in that space – with the conscious awareness of our own limitless potential to shape and be shaped by creativity and innovation.
Take a moment, now, and look around the space where you work and live. How do you feel in that space? How does the design contribute to or detract from your experience? Is your energy boosted by the space? Do you feel a certain flow to your work or to your interaction with those who share the space?
If how you feel is the ultimate barometer of how well the design of the space suits you, and the mercury is at bottom, perhaps a redesign is in order. Reach out to the talented designers in our community and seek counsel. Get out your sketchbook and start rethinking spaces.
Life spent immersed in great design is life well spent.