What's scale got to do with design?

Micène Fontaine, December 14, 2022

Sail too far into the ocean, and you might fall off the face of the Earth - or so the tale goes about how early explorers bravely sailed toward the horizon, not knowing what awaited beyond.

Today, the conversation has mostly moved on, but the shift from a flat view of the world to a circular view of the world rages on. Some argue - I am one of them - that our ancestors understood the cycles of Nature and Earth better than we do, or at least they designed and built with those cycles in mind. Today, we certainly know more, but we don't always know better.

The culprit? Scale. Architects and designers know that from strength to beauty, scale and proportion matter. At our human scale, the horizon is only about 3 miles into the distance. Our temporal horizon only stretches a few decades into the future. Collectively, we’ve only been on Earth for a mere few seconds compared to other species. On the other hand, Earth’s relationship to time and space is on a scale of its own, which is why we find ourselves at odds with how to become an integral part of the Earth’s system. A system in which there is no waste.

Growing pains for sure, but also an unprecedented opportunity to show that we’ve grown wiser. That we know more and know better. And, therefore, do better by designing with circularity in mind. A way that follows Mother Nature’s lead, systems thinking, and Lavoisier’s words: “Nothing is created or destroyed, only transformed.” 

Seafaring people knew the Earth was round for quite some time. They knew more; they knew better. They explored and discovered. Today, we know Earth’s resources are finite. And, once again, we must bravely set sail toward the horizon - except this time - we know what awaits beyond.

Here is to the Future of Design: Circularity - by design.

:Change by Design