The need for ImperfectionThird Places 30 Jan 2017
As humans, we are always looking for perfection, an elusive ideal. Perfection is a notion, and many individuals and cultures define it differently. Some say it revolves around symmetry and balance, while others believe it does not exist. I believe, on the contrary, that imperfection is necessary; it might even be the new perfect.
Picture yourself at a fancy law firm, taking a stroll around the headquarters and noting the powerful architectural design. You are not likely to find dents in the furniture or misaligned decorations. Instead, the interiors are likely made with stainless steel, there is glass everywhere, and it all seems sterile and clean cut; it appears perfect. What this design communicates to you as the visitor is we are perfect and you are not. It’s a power thing. You as a person don’t have stainless steel, or stainless skin for that matter. You have scars and are not perfect… or at least I’m not. I have therefore started creating imperfect public spaces on purpose.
I have therefore started creating imperfect public spaces on purpose.
Perfect places intimidate people, they discourage expression. On the other hand, a public place that isn’t embarrassed to show off its scratches lets people know that this place has a story, just like them. This informality speaks to people on a subconscious level and makes them feel at ease. Fresh approaches and big ideas usually start off in informal settings where people feel uninhibited, such as a bar or a friend’s living room. When an interior is flawed, people are more likely to connect not only to the space, but also with one another.
Creative architecture starting at your neighborhood bar
The hidden beauty of imperfection lies in its domino effect: Imperfection leads to informality, which leads to a non-intimidating environment, which causes people to feel at ease and reduce their fears and anxiousness. This relaxed state then allows people to be more open towards their surroundings as they feel a comfortable connection that allows them to be more open towards other people, making them more inclined to engage in conversation. Talking to one another then makes people more likely to exchange their opinions, which leads to an increased openness for new ideas.
This open-mindedness then ultimately leads to innovation, which I firmly believe is necessary to ensure the survival of the human species, especially due to the increasing role that technology is playing in our daily lives. Standardized processes and automation may increase our efficiency and bring us incredible technological advances, but creative thinking still remains dependent on one single source: the human mind.
Photography: Johnny Smith en Denham Amsterdam.