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vol. 49: when picking furniture becomes spiritual
+ before & after photos of The Commons
In many digital containers, every button, piece of copy, and intentional negative or white space lends itself to a specific goal. It has a job-to-be-done, so to speak. Yes, we may design UX for human values and engagement, but the elephant lurking around the corner - perhaps even abstracted under the banner of a glorious mission statement - is “business impact”. This is the not-so-secret secret that every for-profit digital architect senses, whether subconsciously or overtly.
I’ve found the reprieve of designing physical space to be a welcomed antidote. What if the job-to-be-done for a container is highly abstract? How can one design a space for connection, solitude, beauty, contemplation, belonging or creativity? Does the placement of a stack of books or half-used candle have a quantifiable impact to the bottom line? Traversing beyond the mind, these jobs find footing in the realm of heart and soul. The success of a physical space is not a/b testable, it’s intuited in the subconscious. It is beyond words. It is felt at the level of energy.
I suspect physical spaces with these kinds of abstract ideals are akin to how the natural world works. The emphasis being on the ecosystem and whole, as opposed to the individuating ROI of one specific component. Designing for the whole is more effortless. More tender. Less quantifiable justifications are needed. It’s not about cost-benefitting the half-used candle. One surrenders to the enveloping vibe, and the details flow from there. The mind is a useful sidekick, measuring sq. ft, extrapolating budgets, analyzing placement and curvature - but ultimately, the heart leads. Its intention, directed towards a holistic system, as opposed to justifying the being-ness of its parts.
Perhaps we ought to suspend our defense of our mind and really try something different. Let go and stop the struggle to figure everything out. Lay down the need to comprehend from your limited perspective, and allow true understanding to reveal itself.
Open your heart, again and again.
Take all of the mental perspective and put it into the inner flow and use it as fuel to create a more permanent place of openness within yourself. By doing this we expand our awareness back into higher Consciousness. The mind and ego get absorbed back into their source, where there is no separation. This is how liberation takes place.
What if we designed our lives from the seat of the heart, as opposed to the calculative whims of the mind? What if we focused on our macro “why”, drawn from our achiest depths, and let the universe take care of the details? What if?
Enjoy the before & after pictures below of The Commons below 😄
Community Living Room / Solarpunk Library
Cozy Moroccan Lounge
The “Hogwarts” Study
Modular Philosophy Salon x Concert hall x Yoga/Meditation Studio
And of course, a space wouldn’t be complete without its wonderful humans:
If you’re interested in renting out The Commons for your event you can let us know here.
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