Micène Fontaine, August 25, 2021

Why has a railing captivated the attention of thousands of people over the past couple of weeks? What does the picture evoke for you?

Images: Braille engraved railing at Castel Sant’Elmo Image twitter.com/thegallowboob
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Micène Fontaine, August 18, 2021

1976: I was about one year old when I first played with brightly colored wooden shapes. Chances are you were about the same age when you had a similar experience. I imagine I tried stacking these blocks on the back of the family pet or the shag rug before realizing that a stable surface works best - though far less fun to a toddler. There is a lot of learning embedded in this simple game. Lesson 1: Stacking works best on a stable foundation.

Images: (Left) pticelov/shutterstock.com (Right) SunnyLife Jumbling Tower
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Micène Fontaine, August 12, 2021

Did you get a chance to think about it? In my last blog post, I left you with this question: What is the highest and best purpose of design? This is a question I was asked a few months ago. Many of us were asked to answer it. I'll share my answer in a moment, but more importantly, below is what stood out for me in Ian Rolston's answer:

"We are the gatekeepers of good, articulated in the environments we create. In the elements we place that tell stories to honour the past, acknowledge our present and celebrate the potential of tomorrow. We designers orchestrate interactions that enhance moments of connection and establish shared values that make life – that make living better. [...] We are problem solvers, storytellers and agents of change that can design the world as it should be." - Ian Rolston, NCIDQ, IDC, LEED GA, ARIDO, Lead Decanthropist, Decanthropy, Toronto

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Micène Fontaine, July 22, 2021

What is the highest and best purpose of design? This is the question I was asked a few months ago when I was nominated to participate in CIDA's Future Vision project - more on that later, and no, my entry was not selected :-)

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Micène Fontaine, July 8, 2021

In "Now What?", I highlighted the importance of meaning-making in the age of information and knowledge overload. What matters is connecting the dots. Or, as author Rohit Bhargava, puts it, "transforming noise into meaning." This is especially true in an increasingly complex world. Learning and education are (or at least should be) at their core about taking myriad tidbits of knowledge and re-organize them in a way that helps us highlight what matters, how it matters, and how it is all interconnected.

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Micène Fontaine, July 1, 2021

Humans love stories. That's how we learn, pass on traditions and ancestral knowledge. Stories are - at once - who we've been, are, and will be.

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Micène Fontaine, June 22, 2021

The words we choose tell a story of their own. First, we talked about "global warming," then "climate change." Now the conversation has moved away from "fighting climate change" to "climate adaptation." I think it tells us a lot about where we are. 

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Micène Fontaine, June 15, 2021

The page was blank, except for yellow lines. Did a 3-year old steal my journal? Was it a building, a hippo, or a map to a long-lost treasure I meant to draw a few weeks ago when I last opened this journal? It doesn't stop me, but I can't draw, hence the hesitation about what the lines might have been. I decided it was an elephant. A yellow elephant on my otherwise blank page.

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Micène Fontaine, June 3, 2021

During a podcast interview about the impact of the pandemic on older adults, a mental health professional pointed to the built environment as the first line of defense. Specifically, he pointed to multi-generational buildings. I was surprised.

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Micène Fontaine, May 24, 2021

“I just need you to listen.” Sounds simple, right? Based on the reactions to my last post, it’s not that simple, especially for design professionals who must listen to a variety of stakeholders. Ask Wandile Mthiyane, and you'll learn how he founded the Ubuntu Design Group around this very idea: Listen to Build

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