An Eco-Believer

Metropolis’s focus on sustainable and ecological design is inspiring to me and I am working on changing my business and life’s work accordingly.

Reflecting on those issues, I’d like to share with you the thought that beauty is an ecological value. As John Keats said so well “A thing of beauty is a joy forever”—and that also means to me that we keep beautiful things we treasure much longer that the things that are available in stores like “Costco” whose motto seems to be “Junk – In Bulk,” most of them cheap, ill-conceived throw-away items.

It also means that breathless coverage of current design stars on a design scene littered with so many “wow”-oriented designs of no or little intellectual and lasting content is, in a sense, un-ecological. Those items have short-lived appeal as the “wow” fascination wears off and we soon discover their inherent emptiness. In the garbage they go. They are also often made with extremely costly manufacturing methods—a bit like the Toyota Prius whose overall “dust to dust” ecological impact has recently been found out to be enormous, exceeding that of the huge, gas-guzzling Range Rover

The values of quality and appreciation of truly good design with a lot of intellectual and artistic content are found in the most advanced European countries. Of note to me was the fact that Wal-Mart has had to pull out of Germany.

Those values are also brilliantly expounded in the Let My People Go Surfing book by Patagonia’s founder and owner Yvon Chouinard – the second half of it “Philosphies” is simply illuminating and inspiring.

Mark Gajewski

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