Kategoriarkiv: Design

Book Review: The Garden Awakening

The Garden Awakening: Designs to Nurture Our Land and Ourselves by Mary Reynolds is a book about designing gardens that are beautiful, radiant with life, bursting with energy, in harmony with the Earth.1 Mary Reynolds has discovered through her work as a garden and landscape designer that gardens can become very special if we invite Nature to express her true self in these spaces, and then work to heal the land and ourselves.2

We are mirrors for the land and it is a mirror for us, so healing the the land leads us towards our own restoration, back to our true selves. If we allow the light to shine on all the dark places in our lives and have the courage to face ourselves, then recovery and growth will take place. Healing involves looking at the whole picture. We cannot solve a problem by resolving the physical level alone.3. We also need to find and correct the underlying causes of physical symptoms, whether conscious or unconscious.4

Mary Reynolds shows how using an integrated living systems approach removes our incessant war on Nature.5 We can force a child to be someone they don’t want to be, but only with the consequences of unhappiness and retreat. We can, on the other hand, gently discover who the child is, and who they want to be. Every piece of land is the same as this child. By listening carefully and allowing the land to become an extension of ourselves, we can interpret its energy and enable it to emerge through a creative collaborative process.6

Mary Reynolds uses the word co-creation when referring to her approach. Co-creation means that we are building our gardens hand in hand with Nature as a partner. It is based on the acknowledgment that Nature is a real, present, and conscious living entity. Her method of garden design is intuitive. The most important part is establishing a mutually beneficial relationship.7

Mary Reynolds has, for the purpose of the book, distilled her design system into five basic elements:

1. The tool of intention.8
2. Selecting areas to hold specific intentions.9
3. Designing with the patterns and shapes of Nature.10
4. The power of symbols and imagery.11
5. Putting the design on paper.12

Our thoughts, emotions, and intentions are a form of energy. If we focus our energy in a particular direction, we will be propelled there. Using intention allows us to communicate directly with our land.13 The aim is to create spaces that feel right, spaces that appeal to the heart rather than just the intellect.14 The patterns in Nature form a language we can feel rather than understand.15. We know when we have proper relationships because it feels right, it has resonance. Practice makes it easier to recognize this resonant feeling. Like any other skill, it takes time and effort to develop this skill.16

Mary Reynolds emphasizes that the only way to make a sustainable garden system to work is to collaborate with Nature. Fighting against Nature is just plain silly. If we are to treat the land as a living body, we must think in those terms.17 This book is a treasure map for finding our way back to the truth of who we are as living beings. The directions are simple, the methods are intuitive.18 The book is beautifully illustrated by Ruth Evans. This is literally one of the most beautiful books I’ve read. Reading the book is a nurturing experience in itself.

Update 2016-04-23:
I think that Mary Reynolds’ approach to garden design is as applicable to organizational design. If we are to treat the organization as a living system, we must think in those terms.

1 Mary Reynolds, The Garden Awakening: Designs to Nurture Our Land and Ourselves (Green Books, 2016), p.42.
2 Ibid., pp.13–14.
3 Ibid., p.22.
4 Ibid., p.24.
5 Ibid., p.39.
6 Ibid., p.44.
7 Ibid., p.45.
8 Ibid., pp.46–60.
9 Ibid., pp.61–71.
10 Ibid., pp.71–79.
11 Ibid., pp.79–92.
12 Ibid., pp.93–119.
13 Ibid., p.46.
14 Ibid., p.71.
15 Ibid., p.74
16 Ibid., p.75.
17 Ibid., p.212.
18 Ibid., p.259.

Japanese aesthetic ideals

Aesthetics in Japan is seen as an integral part of daily life and include ancient ideals like:

  • Yūgen (幽玄), an awareness of the Universe that triggers emotional responses too deep and powerful for words; 1
  • Wabi, transient and stark beauty;
  • Sabi, the beauty of natural aging.

In Zen philosophy there are seven principles for achieving wabi-sabi:

  • Fukinsei (不均整), asymmetry, irregularity;
  • Kanso (簡素), simplicity;
  • Koko, basic, weathered;
  • Shizen (自然), without pretense, natural;
  • Yugen (幽玄), subtly profound grace, not obvious;
  • Datsuzoku (脱俗), unbounded by convention, free;
  • Seijaku (静寂), tranquility, stillness.

Yūgen (幽玄) – Deep Awareness of the Universe

1 The exact translation depends on the context.

Become a now-ist

JoiItoFocus on being connected, always learning, fully aware and super present. In this talk Joi Ito, the head of the MIT Media Lab, shares an approach to creating in the moment. Build quickly and improve constantly, without waiting for permission or proof that you have the right idea. It starts, he says, with being open and alert to what’s going on around you right now.

Joi Ito outlines three principles for bottom-up innovation:

  1. Pull over Push: Seek the resources you need when you need it.
  2. Learning over Education: Learning is what you do. Education is what others do to you.
  3. Compass over Maps: You can’t map out everything. If you know the direction, a compass helps.

Ett exempel på värdegrund

För några år sedan hörde jag en föreläsning av Nirvan Richter, grundare av Norrgavel. Föredraget handlade dels om hantverket i möbelsnickeri, dels om Norrgavels värdegrund. Nirvan Richter är en färgstark person med starka värderingar. Norrgavels värdegrund är tredelad och har ett humanistiskt, ett ekologiskt och ett existensiellt perspektiv:

  • Humanistisk – om människan: Ambitionen är alltid att göra möblerna så fina som det någonsin går. Möblerna är bruksföremål som skall vara funktionella och praktiska, men de skall oockså göra vardagslivet enkelt och vackert. Mottot är okonstlad enkelhet.
  • Ekologisk – om naturen: Konsekvent kretsloppstänkandet utgör själva grunden i sättet att göra möblerna. Användningen av förnyelsebara råmaterial handlar inte enbart om kretsloppstänaknde utan har också med upplevelsen att göra. Äggoljetemperans doft. Den fysiska känslan när man stryker handen över en såpad träyta. Naturmaterial åldras som regel med behag. Ytterligare en ekologisk aspekt är funktionen. Möblerna ska tåla att användas dagligen under lång tid.
  • Existentiell – om evigheten: Vad är meningen med allt? Vem är jag? Vad är egentligen viktigt i livet? Livsviktigt, alltså! Ett barns födelse. En anhörigs död. Att få vara frisk. På ett sätt är det livsviktigt precis hur möblerna är utformade och ur en annan synvinkel är det fullkomligt oväsentligt. Möblerna skall inte dominera livet utan vara en bakgrund till det. Inspiration kommer från den japanska traditionen och amerikansk shaker. När möblerna görs åt Gud duger enbart det bästa.

Umeå Designhögskola 2014

Helgen den 1-2 februari närvarade Kronprinsessparet vid invigningen av Umeå 2014, Europas kulturhuvudstad. Som en del av besöket fick Kronprinsessparet ta del av elevers arbeten vid Designhögskolan i Umeå. Designhögskolan tillhör den absoluta toppen inom industridesignutbildning. Här visar Eric Höglund sitt teams arbete med säkerhetsvästar som ger barn ökad säkerhet i baksätet. Medlemmar i teamet var Eric Höglund (BA3), Linnea Silfvergrip (BA2), Pontus Merkel (BA2), Jenny Holmsten (BA2) och Lisa Sundberg (ID4).

Kronprinsessan, Eric Höglund och Ulf Adelsohn.
Foto: Kungahusets inlägg på Vine