2013 is already upon us all, and for me it started out with the flu. I am writing this still in recovery mode, but I am feeling stronger and overall it did not last too long. More importantly, I wanted to talk about architecture. I have been recently drafting a post that discussed the value of design, but it is still in draft stages because I did not want to publish it and have it sound like my personal manifesto on architecture. Not that I am opposed to anyone having a manifesto of architecture, it was just that I was not interested in going down that road. On the other hand, this draft post inspired me to create a series of posts that dissect some of the many facets of the profession of architecture, through design.
Following the value of design, there are questions in my head regarding the power of design, this separates the work from being a commodity and places it on a higher plane that responds to human needs that are not equal around the globe. without getting into it, think of how we, Americans, gobble up the newest Apple product like there won’t be enough to go around, but then in Haiti, or Chengdu, China, where massive natural disasters have decimated entire cities and the human populations as well because the buildings were designed without as much care as an iPad.
These may seem like two completely disparate worlds, but the fact is that design, of all things, has impact on our daily lives. Some in great ways and some in harmful and lethal ways.
I recently watched a documentary about Ai Wei Wei, who some call a Chinese dissident for his art work and social commentary, but if he were born, raised and worked in the United States he would be considered your average beatnik artists living in Venice Beach. This documentary, Never Sorry, chronicles his life over the course of 2-3 years following the earthquake in Chengdu, through some major art gallery installations and up to a abduction and detention by the Chinese government for alleged tax evasion.
If you are interested in design, architecture, politics, culture and the interrelationship of all these, then I suggest you catch this film. Right now it is on instant plan in the Netflix library. Ai Wei Wei is a fascinating individual who is an artist, architect, blogger, reporter and anything else that would suit his desire if he could use it to express his thoughts. He crosses the boundaries that most anyone is content to stay within the confines of traditional professions. Wei Wei makes no distinction between any of these related fields, they are all at his disposal when he is at work. This type of multi-tasking thinker is inspiring to me, I always strive to celebrate diversity and interconnected design explorations.
I encourage everyone to take a look at Ai Wei Wei.