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MUJI’s design philosophy is emptiness, not minimalism, says Kenya Hara — Quartzy
"Ku is not a poverty or absence of ideas or materials. Indeed, it’s a much richer concept than the Western understanding of “emptiness.” It’s a stance—a readiness to receive inspiration from outside. “To offer an empty vessel is to pose a single question and to be wholly ready to accept the huge variety of answers,” says Hara. ”Emptiness is itself a possibility of being filled.”"
ku  japan  japanese  kenyahara  muji  emptiness  minimalism  2017 
may 2019 by robertogreco
The Muji Paradox - Racked
"Muji and I, we have a routine.

Whenever I’m feeling a little edgy or in need of some self-care — which, in 2016, has been unrelentingly often — I wander into the minimalist Japanese retailer’s warm and pleasingly-lit walls to browse the rows of desk supplies and sensible button-down shirts. Often, I’ll purchase something — some pens perhaps, or an elderflower-scented travel candle — but the total rarely exceeds the cost of a lunch.

Usually one to exhibit a reasonable amount of self-control when it comes to buying things I don’t need, I am woefully powerless when it comes to these micro purchases at Muji. Earlier this year, on the first day of a three-week trip to Japan, I squealed with delight when I found that they actually sold Muji products in one of the major convenience store chains (quaintly named “Family Mart”), just in case you needed a 20-pack of non-branded Q-tips along with your machine-dispensed iced coffee. As I wandered through the retailer’s five-floor outlet in Tokyo’s Shibuya neighborhood, I felt a silent kinship with the kind of Japanese shopper who would intently examine the seam on a heather gray camisole before purchasing it. You wouldn’t be caught dead owning a novelty 5K race T-shirt, I thought. Neither would I.

Indeed, it wasn’t until this trip to Japan — a country that has a knack for turning even the most ascetic person into a rabid consumerist, hence the success of Marie Kondo — that I began to see the Muji paradox as clear as a stain on one of its organic linen tunics: that I can feel so strongly about a brand that goes out of its way to be dogmatically un-branded seems a kind of magic trick of capitalism that no other retailer pulls off so ably.

Because here’s the thing: I don’t need the things I buy at Muji, but they do make my life measurably better, if only infinitesimally. Things like the mini travel soaps with the accompanying plastic box, which eliminates an unnecessary liquid from my carry-on-only packing system. The mini lint roller, which folds up into its own case and fits in a handbag so my coat never has errant hair on it. The right angle socks, which I’m convinced are the only no-show socks on the planet that can comfortably be worn with Vans slip-on shoes. The transparent plastic zipper pouch for carry-on liquids, which I smugly pull out when attempting to bypass London Heathrow’s liquid-obsessive security line. In a cold, cruel world full of big problems, these tiny victories add up — which is perhaps why I come back for refills of my favorite items again and again.

The Muji effect extends beyond my own life, too. I would be lying if I said that, upon seeing the bedroom of a romantic interest for the first time, that person’s stock does not immediately rise if their bed is outfitted in muted-toned Muji sheets. Similarly, a person who has a cup full of Muji 0.5 mm pens on their desk not only broadcasts an affinity for fine writing implements, but also an attention to detail that I’m likely to appreciate. A stranger who strides through a throng of holiday shoppers with a single large carrier bag from Muji somehow seems exempt from perpetuating capitalism and all of its ills, even though they are.

Indeed, Muji espouses a kind of pious minimalist ethos that draws in a particular type of discerning shopper (me) who, instead of buying more hangers, gets rid of clothes to fit the amount of hangers they already own. The promise that, with each new visit, I may find an ingenious solution for one of modern life’s subtle but vexing inconveniences excites me. It makes me feel that perhaps I’m not being extravagant, but rather sensible, by paying Muji a visit every now and then.

Ryan Patel is a retail analyst and consultant who helps brands scale internationally. He says the cult of Muji is based on simplicity, consistency, and the idea that the stuff is not screaming at you to buy it, but rather patiently waiting for you to find it.

“The design of the stores has a warm appeal. It creates a feeling that’s non-intrusive, it doesn’t pressure you to spend money,” says Patel. “Plus, you’re shopping for an everyday item, you’re not shopping for a high-ticket item — there are a lot of consumers who are just looking for something that is what it looks like. Muji doesn’t need to have a brand name because the brand name is the store. They’ve parlayed this simplicity into credibility.”

The credibility has proved lucrative, of course. After all, Muji may want to reduce the clutter in my apartment, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t want its highly functional stuff to be in as many apartments as possible. Though it only has 11 stores in North America (compared to 227 in East Asia and 61 in Europe), its plans for expansion are decidedly not low-key. In its 2016 annual report, it notes that it hopes to expand from 24 to 34 countries and regions worldwide, with a particular focus on China, where it hopes to have 200 stores by the end of this fiscal year.

And yet, Patel is right. Everything in Muji is how I want my life to be all the time: clean, orderly, soothingly-lit, warm, in a neutral color palette, and non-intrusive. Even the salespeople don’t bother you unless you ask them to. Add in the mission creep aspect of the operation — I walk in to buy pens and walk out having just bought essential oils, nail clippers, and a normcore gray sweatshirt — and you see why its self-stated mission of “creating a pleasant life” is an ingenious way to bolster its bottom line.

Alas, we all know a pleasant life can’t be found inside the walls of any retailer, even a Japanese one. And indeed, it was during my trip to Japan that I began to see Muji as emblematic of — rather than exempt from — the kind of consumerist fever that makes Tokyo a really fun yet financially dangerous city to go shopping in. However, even though Muji’s clever capitalistic jig is up, it’s still unlikely I’ll put an end to my self-soothing shopping routine any time soon. After all, Donald Trump is almost president, and I like the socks too much."
muji  design  rosiespinks  qualityoflife  via:jarrettfuller  minimalism  2016  ryanpatel  simplicity  consistency  credibility  retail 
january 2017 by robertogreco
Why I love my possessions as a mirror and a gallery of me | Aeon Essays
"The trouble is that I am my things and my things are me. I don’t want to relinquish them. This reluctance is not acquisitiveness: it is that I don’t want to abandon myself. Single, childless, I’m all I’ve got: me – and the accumulated external markers of who I am, which are also narrative prompts for the ongoing story of my life. These stories connect me to the past, present, future, and live in nearly everything I own. Those oak tables in my living room come from a Maryland junk shop; embedded in their grain is the story of my bribing friends with a promise of crab cakes in exchange for help transporting the furniture back to New Jersey. A kitschy dish shaped like a duck taking flight reminds me of researching a book in Nashville. The bisque Rosenthal vase shouts: ‘Get back to Berlin’ every time I dust it.

In Being and Nothingness (1943), Jean-Paul Sartre wrote that man wishes to possess things in order to enlarge his sense of self, and that we can know who we are only by observing what we have. Studies of ownership and identity – by marketing experts, anthropologists, psychologists and sociologists – come to the same conclusion: we project our sense of self onto everything we own. According to Russell Belk, a professor of marketing at York University whose 1988 paper about possessions and the extended self remains a touchstone for all subsequent research, this kind of projection serves a valuable function for a healthy personality, ‘acting as an objective manifestation of self’. Humans have a fundamental need to store memories, values and experiences in objects, perhaps to keep them safe from memory loss; proof that, yes, that really happened.

It is not even necessary to own these totemic items for their charge to hold. People speak about ‘my’ television programme, ‘my’ movie star, or ‘my’ seat in a classroom – a form of possessive self-definition that extends to matters of taste as well as to stuff. Questions such as: ‘Are you Beatles or are you Stones? Blur or Oasis?’ are examples of how taste funnels us into tribes that proclaim our aspirations and ideals along with our interests.

Who are my people? Open my front door and the first thing you notice are books. They line the walls, hover overhead, and stack up on tables. Each is a chunk of autobiography, a clue to who I was while reading it, what I found to love inside its pages and where it sent me next. Umberto Eco understood this phenomenon well, saying: ‘The contents of someone’s bookcase are part of his history, like an ancestral portrait.’"



"As I contemplate a possible future of enforced minimalism, I am unsettled by the words of the psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, who wrote in ‘Why We Need Things’ (1993) that: ‘Artefacts help objectify the self … by demonstrating the owner’s power.’ They ‘reveal the continuity of the self through time, by providing foci of involvement in the present, mementos and souvenirs of the past, and signposts to future goals… objects give concrete evidence of one’s place in a social network as symbols… of valued relationships.’ As such, they stabilise our identities, giving permanent shape to ourselves ‘that otherwise would quickly dissolve in the flux of consciousness’.

I fear that disposing of my possessions would dissolve me. I’m precariously balanced on an emotional seesaw. On one side, writ large, are phrases such as ‘check your privilege’ and ‘first-world problems’, which remind me that many endure far worse. On the other side is the gut-wrenching sensation that I’m being erased. I try projecting myself into an unfettered future of ease and liberation. But all my imagination conjures is the kind of grim bedsit existence depicted by Muriel Spark."



"Sophie Woodward, a lecturer in sociology at Manchester University, works on a research project called Dormant Things. She studies the items that people store in cupboards and attics, and which they often never use, but which have ‘implications for understanding memories, life and relationship changes, and also for developing more sustainable consumption’. Time and again, Woodward notes that people think they ought to get rid of stuff; but, she tells me: ‘The more I talk to them, the more I realise that they get immense pleasure out of having those things, even things they don’t look at, because when they do it reminds them of something.’"



"Anecdotal evidence reinforces my instinct that jettisoning everything would undermine my me-ness. Daniel Miller, an anthropologist at University College London, spent 17 months conducting interviews with 30 London residents for his book The Comfort of Things (2008), in order to explore ‘the role of objects in our relationships, both to each other and to ourselves’. He was testing the popular assumption that ‘our relationships to things [come] at the expense of our relationships to people’.

He discovered that this assumption wasn’t true: ‘usually the closer our relationships are with objects, the closer our relationships are with people’. One of his most unsettling encounters was with a man who owned nothing, living ­– perching, really – amid a minimum of donated furniture and clothes. ‘There is a loss of shape, discernment and integrity. There is no sense of the person as the other, who defines one’s own boundary and extent.’ This seems to support Csikszentmihalyi’s belief that our psyches need the stability that possessions bring."



"Which brings me to a last, shaming truth. While I don’t buy high-cost, high-status items, my pride in what I possess is linked to a desire for admiration and love. I hope that people visiting my home will get me in a way that’s not possible when meeting me elsewhere. What’s more, this happened: my ex-husband swore that he fell for me when he saw my library and the dictionary that lives by my bed. Yet I’d need a nonstop stream of visitors to justify my numerous possessions. Why do I persist in playing to an imaginary audience, like a fairy tale princess in suspended animation, waiting to be discovered? Perhaps the dream of an improved future self keeps us whole and functioning in the here and now. Perhaps this is the necessity."
possessions  leerandall  2016  minimalism  jean-paulsarte  sartre  umbertoeco  mihalycsikszentmihalyi  michaellandy  sophiewoodward  meaning  memory  psychology  danielmiller  objects  relationships  marcallum 
august 2016 by robertogreco
The Oppressive Gospel of ‘Minimalism’ - The New York Times
[See also: http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2016/03/marie-kondo-and-the-privilege-of-clutter/475266/ ]

"“Minimalism” was eventually canonized as an art-historical movement, but the name came to mean something different as it was adopted into consumer culture and turned into a class signifier. What was once a way artists shocked viewers became over the decades a style as delimited and consumable as any Martha Stewart tablescape. The word was defanged, no longer a critical insult and no longer a viable strategy within art — though it never quite gave up its veneer of provocation. Even austerity can be made decadent: To wealthy practitioners, minimalism is now little more than a slightly intriguing perversion, like drinking at breakfast. “One of the real problems with design-world minimalism is that it’s just become a signifier of the global elite,” Raskin says. “The richer you are, the less you have.”

The minimalists’ aesthetic of raw materials and aggressive simplicity leaked into fashion, design and architecture, where it became a luxury product, helped along at times by the artists themselves. Judd’s SoHo loft building is now an icon of sanitized minimalism, open to tourists. His Chinati Foundation, a permanent installation of concrete and metal boxes in and around a decommissioned military base in Marfa, Tex., is a site of hipster pilgrimage. It even appears in Ben Lerner’s “10:04,” a novel redolent of late-capitalist anxiety. The protagonist visits the town on an artist’s residency, where he wanders the desert landscape, parties with young people and accidentally ingests ketamine — but it’s Judd’s installation that provides an epiphany. The sculptures, he writes, “combined to collapse my sense of inside and outside.” Judd’s work “had itself come to contain the world.”

Today’s minimalism, by contrast, is visually oppressive; it comes with an inherent pressure to conform to its precepts. Whiteness, in a literal sense, is good. Mess, heterogeneity, is bad — the opposite impulse of artistic minimalism. It is anxiety-inducing in a manner indistinguishable from other forms of consumerism, not revolutionary at all. Do I own the right things? Have I jettisoned enough of the wrong ones? In a recent interview with Apartamento magazine set against interior shots of his all-white home in Rockaway, Queens, the tastemaker and director of MoMA PS1 Klaus Biesenbach explained, “I don’t aim to own things.”

Minimalism is now conflated with self-optimization, the trend that also resulted in fitness trackers and Soylent (truly a minimalist food — it looks like nothing, but inspires thoughts of everything else). Often driven by technol­ogy, this optimization is expensive and exclusively branded by and for the elite. In Silicon Valley, the minimalism fetish can perhaps be traced back to Steve Jobs’s famously austere 1980s apartment (he sat on the floor) and the attendant simplicity of Apple products. Pare down, and you, too, could run a $700 billion company. A thriving Reddit forum on minimalism debates the worth of Muji products and which hobbies count as minimalist-appropriate, in a communal attempt to live the most effective, if perhaps not the most joyful, life.

These minimalist-arrivistes present it as a logical end to lifestyle, culture and even morality: If we attain only the right things, the perfect things, and forsake all else, then we will be free from the tyranny of our desires. But time often proves aesthetic permanence, as well as moral high ground, to be illusory. And already, the pendulum is swinging back.

Writing in The Atlantic in March, Arielle Bernstein described minimalism’s ban on clutter as a “privilege” that runs counter to the value ascribed to an abundance of objects by those who have suffered from a lack of them — less-empowered people like refugees or immigrants. The movement, such as it is, is led in large part by a group of men who gleefully ditch their possessions as if to disavow the advantages by which they obtained them. But it takes a lot to be minimalist: social capital, a safety net and access to the internet. The technology we call minimalist might fit in our pockets, but it depends on a vast infrastructure of grim, air-conditioned server farms and even grimmer Chinese factories. As Lerner’s protagonist observes in “10:04,” even a dull convenience like a can of instant coffee grounds reaches him thanks to a fragile and tremendously wasteful network of global connections, a logistics chain that defies all logic, one undergirded by exploited laborers and vast environmental degradation.

There’s an arrogance to today’s minimalism that presumes it provides an answer rather than, as originally intended, a question: What other perspectives are possible when you look at the world in a different way? The fetishized austerity and performative asceticism of minimalism is a kind of ongoing cultural sickness. We misinterpret material renunciation, austere aesthetics and blank, emptied spaces as symbols of capitalist absolution, when these trends really just provide us with further ways to serve our impulse to consume more, not less."
minimalism  2016  mariekondo  asceticism  possessions  culture  society  consumption  ariellebernstein  kylechayka  siliconvalley  affluence  inequality  privilege  austerity  greatrecession  donaldjudd  davidraskin  aesthetics  technology  abundance  tidying 
july 2016 by robertogreco
For the Children of Refugees, Marie Kondo's 'The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up' Reveals the Privilege of Clutter - The Atlantic
"The Japanese author’s guide to “tidying up” promises joy in a minimalist life. For many, though, particularly the children of refugees and other immigrants, it may not be so simple."



"It’s particularly ironic that the KonMari method has taken hold now, during a major refugee crisis, when the news constantly shows scenes of people fleeing their homes and everything they have. A Vice article, “All the Stuff Syrian Refugees Leave Behind During Their Journey to Europe” shows discarded things ranging from trash to toys to ticket stubs. Each items looks lonely and lost: like evidence of a life left behind. For a project titled “The Most Important Thing,” the photographer Brian Sokol asks refugees to show him the most important thing they kept from the place they left behind. The items they proffer range from the necessary (crutches), to the practical (a sewing machine), to the deeply sentimental (photographs of someone deeply loved, treasured instruments, family pets).

Against this backdrop, Kondo’s advice to live in the moment and discard the things you don’t need seems to ignore some important truths about what it means to be human. It’s easy to see the items we own as oppressive when we can so easily buy new ones. That we can only guess at the things we’ll need in the future and that we don’t always know how deeply we love something until it’s gone. "



"Kondo says that we can appreciate the objects we used to love deeply just by saying goodbye to them. But for families that have experienced giving their dearest possessions up unwillingly, “putting things in order” is never going to be as simple as throwing things away. Everything they manage to hold onto matters deeply. Everything is confirmation they survived."

[See also: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/31/magazine/the-oppressive-gospel-of-minimalism.html ]
ariellebernstein  clutter  mariekondo  minimalism  immigration  tidying  2016  refugees  privilege 
july 2016 by robertogreco
Don’t Buy This Jacket | New Republic
"As ad campaigns go, the anti-shopping, pro-wholesomeness approach on the surface more appealing than, say, that other thing companies seem to be doing these days, where they go think-piece viral through a now-predictable pattern of offending and apologizing. Oh look, Bloomingdales thinks date-rape is OK! Oh wait, no it doesn’t! And then the next thing you know—whether this was the store’s explicit plan or not—you’re on their website drool-scrolling this season’s denim. But this is in its way even more nefarious, because it’s about telling certain consumers that their consumption somehow doesn’t count. It’s about encouraging virtue-signaling of the most pointless, and expensive, kind.

The genius is in convincing high-end shoppers that they’re better people than the rest of us. My all-time favorite example in this area remains the time when a bunch of fashion types wore their clothes inside out because garment workers, or something. I mean, the point was to reveal the labels of their clothes, to show that they cared where their clothes came from, in the traceability sense. A noble goal, in theory, but also an opportunity to show off… designer labels. The kicker was designer Stella McCartney earnestly posing in an inside-out Stella McCartney top.

The outdoorsy version takes things one step further, though, bringing into play not just garment-industry ethics but the eternal Stuff versus Experiences non-debate, wherein people who prefer a dangerous mountain hike to a dangerous-in-its-own-way trip to Sephora get to feel smug. Never mind that experiences (certainly the Instagram-worthy ones) have a way of costing at least as much as stuff, thanks to travel costs, not to mention the cost of all that REI gear. Preferring a dangerous mountain hike to a dangerous-in-its-own-way trip to Sephora doesn’t make you superior. Spending time in nature doesn’t necessarily coincide with preservation. But it’s coded-male, coded-upper-class to choose hiking over, say, scouring lower Manhattan for cheap handbags, so clearly the former activity is just better.

By planting itself firmly on Team Experiences, REI has managed to symbolically reclassify the stuff it sells as not-stuff. Patagonia’s fleeces are part-recycled? REI’s are made out of antimatter. You are not-shopping by shopping there.

REI’s protest of Black Friday has gotten a tremendous amount of sympathetic coverage, from The Today Show to The Onion. And it’s somewhat understandable: They’re giving their workers a paid day off at a time of year when that’s likely to be particularly appreciated. As sancti-marketing goes, a day off certainly beats vegan Canadian handbag company Matt & Nat’s recent, now-removed job ad for an unpaid copywriter, an unfortunate choice for a company that puts “ethics” front and center.

The move is also about highlighting the fact that REI is a cooperative, which is less straightforwardly positive. It involves asking customers to pay $20 to become members, which, like the hashtag campaign, fits neatly into the message that paying retail is a noble act. The REI shopper has $20 to spare, $20 to invest in a future filled with adventure vacations, thus giving the brand a certain exclusivity.

In a column otherwise praising the new minimalism, contemplative-phase David Brooks briefly returned to the stronger, more cynical themes of his earlier work: “One of the troublesome things about today’s simplicity movements is that they are often just alternate forms of consumption,” adding, “There’s a whiff of the haute bourgeoisie ethos here—that simplification is not really spiritual or antimaterialism; just a more refined, organic, locally grown and morally status-building form of materialism.” Precisely. I’d add that there’s something worse about the materialism that poses as the opposite. I’d take sponsored content over the sponsored content posing as a good deed.

To be clear, the problem with sancti-marketing isn’t that specific companies’ ecological or labor claims are untrue. It’s great if companies behave ethically, and fair that they’d want to use this to their advantage. I’d just like it if we could admit that shopping is shopping, stuff is stuff. New hiking boots purchased to look out over a vista aren’t somehow less yay-new-shoes than new patent leather ballet flats worn to explore a city, which is also, let it be known, a form of Outside. "
rei  patagonia  phoebemaltzbovy  2015  consumerism  elitism  anitmaterialism  davidbrooks  #optoutside  minimalism  cynicism  simplicity  consumption 
june 2016 by robertogreco
Bros Before Homes | New Republic
"There’s nothing magical about favoring experiences over things, and there’s something subtly sexist about the refrain—especially in cases where the “stuff” is still plenty present, but is being dealt with by the women in a man’s life.

Tony’s essay in Toronto Life inadvertently highlights the sexism underlying the minimalist trend. It’s not just—as Ruth Whippman brilliantly demonstrated at The Pool—that the cool new tidying advice is aimed, much like older housekeeping advice, at women. It’s also that the very idea of experiences mattering more than things is a way of valorizing the stereotypically masculine. “While men are conditioned to dream big—to see their happiness in terms of adventure and travel, sex and ideas and long nights of hilarity—women are now encouraged to find deep fulfilment in staying home to origami our pants,” she wrote.

Whether women are being encouraged to rid our homes of useless belongings, or urged to shop for new ones, the result is the same: Society continues to associate women with the home and the material, men with the outside and experiences. While the enjoyment of domestic life, of stuff, isn’t inherently negative, it is dismissed precisely because of its associations with the feminine. An orientation towards stuff over experiences, moreover, gets cast either as recklessly materialist or, as Tony perceives it, an impediment to enjoying life. The only constant is that what women prefer, or are imagined to prefer, is thought inferior."



"As for whether Stillman’s life is actually minimalist, judge for yourself: He lives in “a series of rooms on the top two floors of a 17th-century apartment building in the Marais district,” a home “[s]parsely furnished with” his partner Marianne Monnier’s “family antiques.” (Green never spells out who pays for what, but refers to the home as “the apartment of his girlfriend.”) And as envy-inspiring photos of the gorgeous apartment confirm, “family antiques” isn’t a euphemism for second-hand IKEA, for “like Mr. Stillman, Ms. Monnier can trace her patrician roots back for generations…” Stillman might not have much stuff by his peer’s standards, but this situation—“imagine no possessions” paired with living in an aristocratically furnished Parisian duplex—is today’s macho minimalism in a nutshell.

We’re meant to admire the experience-lovers for their indifference to stuff, which implies they’ve got their priorities straight: to live life to the fullest. It’s no coincidence, though, that these experience-lovers are so often male, as it’s a stereotypically male aspiration not to be “tied down”—that is, not to have domestic responsibilities. But these men do have roofs over their heads. The bourgeois life they’re rejecting is simply one they’ve outsourced. After all, Tony hasn’t rejected the material life. He’s just got a woman—his mother—tidying up after him."
sexism  minimalism  gender  2016  phoebemaltzbovy  possessions  materialism 
june 2016 by robertogreco
Tokyo Bookstore Only Stocks One Title at a Time
"Morioka Shoten in Ginza features a new solitary book every week, accompanied by related artworks and items

A new bookstore opened earlier this year in Ginza, Tokyo that takes the unique approach of only stocking one title at a time. A different book is featured every week at Morioka Shoten and it is accompanied by related items such as artworks and photographs.

This concept sets the store apart from others, offering a curated approach that combats decision fatigue and makes browsing a lot quicker by recommending a single title for customers to purchase and read.

The bookstore’s owner, Yoshiyuki Morioka, came up with the idea after organizing a series of popular readings and book signings for single publications at his other, traditional bookstore. He was inspired to open a dedicated space where a single book could take center stage. The second branch of Morioka Shoten was created by design and engineering firm Takram, who led the graphic design and copy writing for the Ginza store’s visual identity.

The book of the week is displayed on a table in the small boutique, along with Morioka’s personal work desk and a vintage chest of drawers that is used as the store’s counter. The minimalistic aesthetic of the space matches perfectly with its concept. There are no other items of furniture, and the concrete walls and ceiling are coated with white paint, while the concrete floor has been left bare.

Pieces of art that relate to the currently spotlighted book are displayed around the store for customers to enjoy, for example, ceramic jewellery and objects by Mayumi Kogoma were on show because they were inspired by Kenji Miyazawa’s novel Porano no hiroba."

[See also: http://www.takram.com/morioka-shoten-ginza-branch/

"Morioka Shoten Ginza Branch

takram worked on graphic design and copy writing for visual image of ‘Morioka Shoten Ginza Branch’

On May 5th, ‘Morioka Shoten Ginza Branch’ has opened in Ginza, Tokyo. With the concept of ‘a bookstore with a single book,’ the store is a second branch store for ‘Morioka Shoten.’ takram led the graphic design and copy writing for the new store’s visual identity."
books  bookstores  booksellers  publishing  retail  noticings  2015  yoshiyukimorioka  moriokashoten  curation  tokyo  japan  ginza  decisionmaking  minimalism  audiencesofone 
september 2015 by robertogreco
Toki Pona: A Language With a Hundred Words - The Atlantic
[Toki Pona website: http://tokipona.org/ ]

"In Chinese, the word computer translates directly as electric brain.

In Icelandic, a compass is a direction-shower, and a microscope a small-watcher.

In Lakota, horse is literally dog of wonder.

These neologisms demonstrate the cumulative quality of language, in which we use the known to describe the unknown.

“It is by metaphor that language grows,” writes the psychologist Julian Jaynes. “The common reply to the question ‘What is it?’ is, when the reply is difficult or the experience unique, ‘Well, it is like —.’”

That metaphorical process is at the heart of Toki Pona, the world’s smallest language. While the Oxford English Dictionary contains a quarter of a million entries, and even Koko the gorilla communicates with over 1,000 gestures in American Sign Language, the total vocabulary of Toki Pona is a mere 123 words. Yet, as the creator Sonja Lang and many other Toki Pona speakers insist, it is enough to express almost any idea. This economy of form is accomplished by reducing symbolic thought to its most basic elements, merging related concepts, and having single words perform multiple functions of speech.

In contrast to the hundreds or thousands of study hours required to attain fluency in other languages, a general consensus among Toki Pona speakers is that it takes about 30 hours to master. That ease of acquisition, many of them believe, makes it an ideal international auxiliary language—the realization of an ancient dream to return humanity to a pre-Babel unity. Toki Pona serves that function already for hundreds of enthusiasts connected via online communities in countries as diverse as Japan, Belgium, New Zealand, and Argentina.

In addition to making Toki Pona simple to learn, the language’s minimalist approach is also designed to change how its speakers think. The paucity of terms provokes a kind of creative circumlocution that requires careful attention to detail. An avoidance of set phrases keeps the process fluid. The result, according to Lang, is to immerse the speaker in the moment, in a state reminiscent of what Zen Buddhists call mindfulness.

“What is a car?” Lang mused recently via phone from her home in Toronto.

“You might say that a car is a space that's used for movement,” she proposed. “That would be tomo tawa. If you’re struck by a car though, it might be a hard object that’s hitting me. That’s kiwen utala.”

The real question is: What is a car to you?

As with most things in Toki Pona, the answer is relative.

“We wear many hats in life,” Lang continued, “One moment I might be a sister, the next moment a worker, or a writer. Things change and we have to adapt.”

The language’s dependence on subjectivity and context is also an exercise in perspective-taking. “You have to consider your interlocutor’s way of understanding the world, or situation,” the Polish citizen Marta Krzeminska stated. “For that reason, I think it has great potential for bringing people together.”

To create her new language, Lang worked backwards—against the trend of a natural lexicon. She began by reducing and consolidating the specific into the general."
language  english  linguistics  tokipona  rocmorin  2015  communication  vocabulary  minimalism  languages 
july 2015 by robertogreco
Agnes Martin: the artist mystic who disappeared into the desert | Art and design | The Guardian
"In the summer of 1967, Martin left New York and went off-grid before reappearing in New Mexico. The art she made there – with its buoyant bands of colour – offer no clues to the turbulent life of an artist who was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. Ahead of a major retrospective, Olivia Laing celebrates her visions of pure joy"



"Learning to withstand emptiness was her own speciality, her given task. Her years in New Mexico were marked by a profound withdrawal from worldly things, a life of renunciation and restriction that often sounds punishingly masochistic, though Martin insisted the intention was spiritual, an ongoing war against the sin of pride. The voices were strict in their limitations. She wasn’t allowed to buy records, own a television, or have a dog or cat for company. Over the winter of 1973 she lived off nothing but preserved home-grown tomatoes, walnuts and hard cheese. Another winter it was Knox gelatin mixed with orange juice and bananas. When she was evicted from the mesa after an argument with the owners, she rang Glimcher, telling him she had lost everything, even her clothes. “It’s a sign I’ve been living too grandly,” she announced cheerfully. “It’s another test for me.”

Ironically, Martin’s reclusiveness, her spartan existence, contributed to her growing status as the desert mystic of minimalism, something she simultaneously resisted and fed. During this period, she began to give public lectures that managed to be both bossy and self-effacing, mixing the language of Zen sermons with the babyish burblings and deliberate repetitions of Gertrude Stein, whose poems she was fond of declaiming. Martin was adept at using language opaquely, creating a screen of words that could veil her from the gaze of the world. Like her enigmatic, resistant paintings, her statements are designed to express something beyond the reach of ordinary understanding, weapons in a campaign to devalue the material and elevate the abstract. “When you give up on the idea of right and wrong, you don’t get anything,” she told Johnston. “What you get is rid of everything, freedom from ideas and responsibilities.”

Towards the end of her life, even the strictures began to dissolve. As she aged, Martin became happier and more social, as well as considerably more wealthy. In 1992, she moved into a retirement community in Taos, New Mexico, driving each day to her studio in a spotless white BMW, one of the few extravagances in a life still dedicated to extreme material simplicity. Other things that gave her pleasure were the novels of Agatha Christie (themselves, as Princenthal observes, infinitely ingenious repetitions on the same core structure), occasional martinis and the music of Beethoven. To Lillian Ross in 2003, she announced cheerfully: “Beethoven is really about something. I go to sleep when it gets dark, get up when it’s light. Like a chicken. Let’s go to lunch.”"
agnesmartin  art  olivialaing  2015  schizophrenia  minimalism  emptiness 
june 2015 by robertogreco
Self-Denial | Submitted For Your Perusal
“A character who needs the accoutrements of worldly success will never be seen by the audience as heroic. Heroes are invariably ascetic, denying themselves pleasures and comforts that ordinary people take for granted.… In war films, the hero often declines invitations to partake of food or sex…. The hero can’t relax, can’t have fun. In westerns … all he owns in this world is in that tiny bundle behind the saddle we see when he first appears. We don’t know if he ever changes his shirt or if he even has a shirt to change into, so minimal are his earthly possessions. In detective, police, mystery, and spy films, the central character usually lives in a one-room apartment … but it’s hard to say the hero lives there – it’s where he flops when he’s overcome with exhaustion.… Like religious and mythical heroes of earlier years, the hero is in this world, but not of it. He denies himself the pleasures ordinary mortals yearn for precisely because he isn’t an ordinary mortal.” —Howard Suber, The Power of Film

[via "@ecourtem @savasavasava I bet there are some, but heroism in film often associated with austerity: http://submittedforyourperusal.com/2012/05/29/self-denial/ "
https://twitter.com/mattthomas/status/593125731879755776

part of this thread: “From the trailer, James Bond’s ascetic apartment (at least, I’m guessing that’s what it is) in SPECTRE (2015).”
https://twitter.com/mattthomas/status/593122899244011520

which also includes: “Cf. the lighting, austerity, and accoutrements of Steve Jobs’s apartment circa the early 1980s.”
https://twitter.com/mattthomas/status/593123128215232512

"@mattthomas @savasavasava Just once I'd like to see a superhero emerge out of cluttered and low-class surroundings."
https://twitter.com/ecourtem/status/593125140080234497

"@mattthomas @ecourtem serves to further that whole hero myth while ignoring the privilege of opting for austerity. kinda tired of it."
https://twitter.com/savasavasava/status/593126308286173185

"@savasavasava @ecourtem Cf. the Buddha."
https://twitter.com/mattthomas/status/593126469582397441 ]
simplicity  howardsuber  clutter  film  heroes  asceticism  possessions  buddha  minimalism  2012  2015 
april 2015 by robertogreco
The Science Of Simplicity: Why Successful People Wear The Same Thing Every Day
"Have you ever thought about how much time you likely waste deciding what to wear in the morning? It’s probably made you late to school or work more times than you can count.

We waste so many precious moments concerning ourselves with frivolous details. An outfit will not change the world, it probably won’t even change your day.

This is not to say that fashion isn’t important, as it has an immense impact on culture and, in turn, the direction of society.

Indeed, fashion is where art, culture and history intersect. If we look at the 1960s, for example, the way people dressed was very much a reflection of the counterculture movement and the anti-establishment sentiments of the era.

Simply put, clothes can tell us a lot about sociology.

Yet, at the same time, we’ve arguably become an excessively materialistic and superficial society. Undoubtedly, there are greater things to worry about than clothes.

Similarly, as the great American author Henry David Thoreau once stated:
Our life is frittered away by detail.

…Simply, simplify.

In essence, don’t sweat the small stuff. Make your life easier by concentrating on the big picture.

Correspondingly, a number of very successful people have adopted this philosophy in their daily routines.

Decision Fatigue: Why Many Presidents And CEOs Wear The Same Thing Every Day

Whether you love or hate him, it’s hard to argue against the notion that President Obama has the most difficult job in the world. As the leader of the most powerful country on the planet, the president has a lot on his plate.

Regardless of what he does, he will be criticized. Simply put, he’s got a lot of important things to think about beyond his wardrobe.

This is precisely why President Obama wears the same suit every single day. Well, almost every day, we can’t forget about the time the Internet exploded when he wore a khaki suit. Although, that probably says less about him and more about us.

The majority of the time, however, Obama wears either a blue or gray suit. In an article from Michael Lewis for Vanity Fair, the president explained the logic behind this routine:
‘You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits’ [Obama] said.

‘I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.’ He mentioned research that shows the simple act of making decisions degrades one’s ability to make further decisions.

As Stuart Heritage puts it for the Guardian, “Barack Obama has pared his wardrobe down to such a degree that he can confidently walk into any situation and make decisions that directly impact on the future of mankind.”

The president is not alone in this practice. The late, great, Steve Jobs wore his signature black turtleneck with jeans and sneakers every single day.

Moreover, Mark Zuckerberg typically wears a gray t-shirt with a black hoody and jeans when seen in public. Similarly, Albert Einstein reportedly bought several variations of the same gray suit so that he wouldn’t have to waste time deciding what to wear each morning.

This is all related to the concept of decision fatigue. This is a real psychological condition in which a person’s productivity suffers as a result of becoming mentally exhausted from making so many irrelevant decisions.

Simply put, by stressing over things like what to eat or wear every day, people become less efficient at work.

This is precisely why individuals like President Obama, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and Albert Einstein decided to make life easier by adopting a monotonous wardrobe.

Obviously, as these are some of the most successful and productive individuals in history, they are on to something.

Make Life Simple

Indeed, having a diverse collection of clothing is overrated. We waste so much time worrying about things that have no substantial consequences, and don’t even realize how easily we could change this.

This is exactly why President José Mujica of Uruguay rejects conformity and refuses to wear a tie, stating:
The tie is a useless rag that constrains your neck.

I’m an enemy of consumerism. Because of this hyperconsumerism, we’re forgetting about fundamental things and wasting human strength on frivolities that have little to do with human happiness.

He’s absolutely right. The vast majority of us are guilty of obsessing over material things. When it comes down to it, they bring no real value to our lives. True fulfillment is acquired by going out into the world and fostering palpable and benevolent changes.

Buying a new pair of shoes might make you feel more confident in the short-term, but it will not enrich your life in the long-term.

Undoubtedly, the world would be an extremely boring place if we all wore the same exact thing every day.

Yet, we might all consider simplifying our lives a bit more by reducing the amount of time we spend thinking about pointless aspects of our day. In the process, one might find that they are significantly less stressed, more productive and more fulfilled.

Life is complicated enough, don’t allow the little things to dictate your happiness. Simplify, simplify."
uniforms  clothing  fashion  minimalism  choices  2014  barackobama  stevejobs  markzuckerberg  johnhaltiwanger  uniformproject  josémujica  alberteinstein  glvo  thoreau  pesonaluniforms 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Progressive Reduction — LayerVault Blog
"I’m very excited to talk about a technique that we’ve started using at LayerVault. We call it Progressive Reduction.

Culture of Reduction
The principles mentioned in our Flat Design Era post are the consequence of a culture of reduction—an important place to start. Without the right product culture, implementing the ideas in this post won’t help you much.

The idea behind Progressive Reduction is simple: Usability is a moving target. A user’s understanding of your application improves over time and your application’s interface should adapt to your user."

[Follow-up post: "Implementing Progressive Reduction" http://layervault.tumblr.com/post/42442865260/implementing-progressive-reduction ]
design  minimalism  ui  ux  2013  reduction  progressivereduction  layervault  interface 
august 2013 by robertogreco
Tupperwolf - Wealth, risk, and stuff
"The only way to own very little and be safe is to be rich."
charlieloyd  poverty  wealth  minimalism  2013  risk  society  possessions 
march 2013 by robertogreco
Tumblr: David Karp's $800 Million Art Project - Forbes
"“He owns, like, three items…He’s always looking for ways he can get rid of something.” Even Karp’s person is spare in the extreme: His one suit, though trimly cut, flaps around his 6-foot-1 frame when he fidgets, which he does a lot. Maybe it’s all the calories he burns this way that keeps him skinny, like a teenager who has yet to fill out his bones. “I’ve always been 40 pounds underweight,” he says.

For Tumblr’s CEO, minimalism isn’t just an esthetic choice. It’s the key to freedom. When he travels he avoids making plans more than a few days in advance, even on his trips to Japan, and packs only the sveltest of carry-ons. “It’s my Jason Bourne or James Bond fantasy, wanting to be perfectly mobile,” he says. One of Tumblr’s directors, Roelof Botha of the Silicon Valley venture firm Sequoia Capital, recalls showing up at a board meeting in New York toting only “the tiniest of duffel bags” for his trip. “David took one look at me and said, ‘You really brought all that stuff?’ ”"
packinglight  nomads  neo-nomads  postmaterialism  minimalism  davidcarp  2013 
january 2013 by robertogreco
Don’t Do What I Do | Seth W.
"You can prepare, fill your head with knowledge, listen to podcasts, buy a lightweight and foldable jacket and $250 pants, and email other people who’ve done the same thing, but really you just need to set off on your own. You need to make your own mistakes, because they’re yours. You’ll learn all the lessons you need to learn.

Am I telling you to trust a complete stranger with ALL your stuff? No.

I’m telling you to go make your own advenutres. Stop waiting for permission, stop waiting for the right circumstances, stop waiting, stop waiting, stop… waiting."

See also: http://sethw.com/about-seth-werkheiser/

"In August of 2010 I ditched my stuff and started traveling full-time while working remotely…

Since then: traveled from Brooklyn, NY to New Orleans, LA, over to Austin, TX and as far west as Albuquerque, NM. Visiting 12 cities in 14 days was fun, too, when I traveled by bike and train from Miami, FL to Portland, ME.

I carry everything I own in a bag (currently a Chrome Yalta)."
sethwerkheiser  experience  preparation  deschooling  unschooling  learning  yearoff2  exploration  trust  justdo  waiting  cv  travel  adventure  2012  bikes  biking  possessions  minimalism  yearoff  wandering  packing 
november 2012 by robertogreco
Buzz Andersen: Knee jerk reductionism
"Simple is a life where you have few options. It’s a map that only has the most obvious information on it—one that makes no allowances for unforeseen circumstances (like a road under construction). Simple is “one size fits all” and “any color you want as long as it’s black.” Simple delivers little or no context and answers that don’t fit our lives.

Clear is a path to a new destination that doesn’t delete every landmark or context that might help orient us and, thus, get us there. Clear is alternate views that allow those of us who are visual, spatial, readers, or more comfortable with speech to learn, search, make, and understand in ways that make more sense than the “average.” Clear isn’t eliminating features from systems but arranging them to be found and available JUST when they’re needed in a context that is natural and “obvious.”"

—Nathan Shedroff, in response to Aaron Levie’s “The Simplicity Thesis” (via quipol)

"As I’ve said here before, way too many people in the tech business today equate fetishistic minimalism with compelling product design. Knee jerk reductionism is just as misguided in its own way as the bloatware of yore."
buzzndersen  design  simplicity  minimalism  2012  via:Preoccupations  complexity  software  business  fetishization  context  bloatware  reductionism 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Augmented Paper - Matt Gemmell
"For me, software experiences that feel like Augmented Paper are those that second-guess our (developers’) natural tendency to put functionality first, or to think of our apps as software. Apps are only incidentally software; software is an implementation detail. Instead, apps are experiences. Design an experience. Make it as beautiful — and as emotionally resonant — as it can possibly be. Then adorn the core experience and content with only as much functionality as is absolutely necessary. Functionality…is like seasoning. A little is an enhancement; any more destroys the flavour…and may well be bad for you. These new classes of devices, so immediately personal and portable and tactile, aren’t desktop-era shrines demanding incantation and prostration. They’re empowering extensions to our real, actual lives - and that’s a profound thing. They take what was once prosaic or mundane, and give us just a taste of superpowers. They’re augmentations, and they should be beautiful."
instapaper  aesthetics  tactile  clear  invisibleinterfaces  instinctivecode  digital  minimalism  skeuomorph  tablets  augmentation  mobile  ipad  iphone  applications  augmentedpaper  mattgemmell  2012  via:preoccupations  designasexperience  ui  ux  windowsphonemetro  windowsphone7  metro  windows  design  ios  apple  android  wp7 
april 2012 by robertogreco
Information Architects – Kenya Hara On Japanese Aesthetics
"A Japanese cleaning team finds satisfaction in diligently doing its job. The better they do it the more satisfaction they get out of it.

The craftman’s spirit, I think, imbues people with a sense of beauty, as in elaboration, delicacy, care, simplicity (words I often use). Obviously, this also applies to bento-making and the pride people take in making them as beautiful as they can.

There is a similar craftman’s spirit (“shokunin kishitsu” or “shokunin katagi”) in Europe. Yet in Europe I can see it coming alive only from a certain level of sophistication. –In Japan, even ordinary jobs such as cleaning and cooking are filled with this craftman’s spirit. It is is common sense in Japan.

While Japanese are known for their particular aesthetic sense, I would say we also have an incapacity to see ugliness. How come?

We usually focus fully on what’s right in front of our eyes. We tend to ignore the horrible, especially if it is not an integral part of our personal perspective."
bento  bentoboxes  knives  shokuninkatagi  shokuninkishitsu  glvo  craft  craftsmanship  via:tealtan  2009  design  japanese  minimalism  culture  kenyahara  simplicity  aesthetics  japan 
april 2012 by robertogreco
Living with 100 items. No, 50. No, only 15. Screw it, just get beautiful, useful things – marks.dk
"Bruce Sterling’s “Last Viridian Note”…puts things into the following categories:

1. Beautiful things.
2. Emotionally important things.
3. Tools, devices, and appliances that efficiently perform a useful function.
4. Everything else.

There are no numbers, no set rules for how much stuff you “must” own. I like the idea some have of only owning 100 things, or even just 50 things. But it’s only an idea. I couldn’t do it myself but I can, however, cut down on the stuff that I already own and don’t use.

DVDs go category 4…espresso machine in 3…couch, bed & chair in 3 as well…Half my clothes go in 4…& I need to buy after a pattern of 1 & 3 from now on.

…don’t think you can even buy after category 2 most of the time. That’s the kind of stuff that evolves over time…

Question yourself with everything you are about to buy; if there is a reasonable chance it will be placed in category 4 anytime soon, don’t buy it."
brucesterling  markjensen  possessions  consumption  minimalism  2011  lastviridiannote  things  simplicity  sustainability  consumerism  stuff  qualityoverquantity  viridianism  nomads  neo-nomads  materialism 
november 2011 by robertogreco
Future Perfect » The ‘Name’ Card
"Inspired partly by Herr Siebert’s printed name cards, and partly by the availability of the moveable type in this Ibadan shanty town community – decided to make some old-school name cards. In the age of real-time/near-time search, persistent data and (for this writer) a unique enough name – what is the minimal level of information that needs to go on a name card?"
name  identity  search  moveabletype  letterpress  namecards  businesscards  2011  janchipchase  africa  ibadan  nigeria  minimalism  uniqueness 
september 2011 by robertogreco
Minimal Business Card Design | Boris Smus
"Rather than having each field separately labeled, I tried to uncover as much information as possible within my email address. Hidden inside are my first name, last name, website, and twitter account! Here’s a minimal design concept that tries to break it down."
businesscards  minimalism  twitter  email  urls 
august 2011 by robertogreco
iA Writer for Mac on Vimeo
"iA Writer for Mac is a digital writing tool that will turn you into a shark following a blood trail. We tried our best to create an interface that works so seamlessly that all your thoughts go into the text instead of the program. It is built on three principles:<br />
<br />
1. Form = Idea: iA Writer is a writing tool as hard and as uncustomizable as a mechanical type writer. It has no preferences. It is how it is. It works like it works. Love it or hate it.<br />
2. Thought goes into writing, not using: Focus mode allows me to think, spell and write at one sentence at a time.<br />
3. Minimal input, maximum output: It automatically formats semantical entities such as headlines, lists, bold, strong, block quotes. Writer works without mouse.<br />
<br />
Visit itunes.apple.com/​us/​app/​ia-writer/​id439623248?mt=12# for more information "
writing  software  mac  text  minimalism  texteditor  simplicity  focus  applications  osx  iawriter 
june 2011 by robertogreco
Frank Chimero - Your Shit, My Stuff, Goldilocks, and Making the Bed You Sleep In
"There’s no name for this way of thinking, but if I had to steal a term, I’d use Merlin Mann’s Appropriatism. It’s not minimalism, it’s not maximalist, it’s just-right-ism. Goldilocks was on to something. The idea sits somewhere in the middle, exactly at the crux of whatever works the best with the least amount. The core precept of all of it is this:

“Add things until it starts sucking, take things away until it stops getting better.”

We’re looking for that sweet spot, the thing that fits just right, plus or minus zero. With that said, this isn’t a zen, simple living blog post. By being an apostle for nothingness, we lose touch with reality. Philosophy is worthless if it is not practical. My intent is to be helpful and useful, not dogmatic. Your mileage may vary, if only because of differing needs."
frankchimero  merlinmann  appropriatism  minimalism  steadfast  hot-swap  access  optimization  freedom  personalization  needs  needsassessment  fit  beauty  utility 
january 2011 by robertogreco
egg shaped mobile home
"undoubtedly one of the most interesting project getting featured on the world wide web, the egg-shaped mobile home by twenty-four year old dai haifei is a response to beijing's soaring rental prices. haifie, a recent architecture school graduate, has designed and lived in this temporary unit for the last two months.

the 'egg', measuring six feet in height sits on two wheels and is constructed from basket woven bamboo splints. the exterior features a patchwork of small sacks containing seeds of grass that will grow to eventually provide insulation. a south facing solar panel 'provides' power to a single lamp on the inside. during the day, natural daylight enters through an opening in the ceiling. the entrance can be propped open to facilitate natural ventilation.

given the small size and simple shape, the layout is minimal: a half circumference bed and low, built in storage line the perimeter, making the space efficient for bare living. "
design  architecture  mobile  mobility  neo-nomads  nomads  realestate  china  housing  homes  minimalism  small  tinyhomes 
december 2010 by robertogreco
Rands In Repose: The Art of Not
"The Instagram team could have gotten lost in any number of distracting feature buckets. In fact, based on the Quora article, it looks like they did, but then they threw away that application and built one intensely focused solely on photos.

There’s lots more coming from Instagram. There are subtle clues throughout the application that it could be adapted to share any type of media. Whatever they choose to do, they now have the opportunity to choose because of what they chose not to do."
instagram  rands  simplicity  photography  iphone  applications  minimalism  ios  design 
november 2010 by robertogreco
John Sculley On Steve Jobs, The Full Interview Transcript | Cult of Mac
"He felt that the computer was going to change the world & it it was going to become what he called “the bicycle for the mind.” It would enable individuals to have this incredible capability that they never dreamed of before…

What makes Steve’s methodology different from everyone else’s is that he always believed the most important decisions you make are not the things you do – but the things that you decide not to do. He’s a minimalist.…

Normally you will only see a handful of software engineers who are building an operating system. People think that it must be hundreds and hundreds working on an operating system. It really isn't. It's really just a small team of people. Think of it like the atelier of an artist…

[Japanese standards are just different than ours. If you look at Apple and the attention to detail. The “open me first,” the way the box is designed, the fold lines, the quality of paper, the printing — Apple just goes to extraordinary lengths."
apple  business  stevejobs  mac  design  interview  size  groupsize  teams  managment  focus  minimalism  johnsculley  organizations  tcsnmy  computers  efficiency  via:kottke  japan  muji  experience  packaging  management  administration  lcproject 
october 2010 by robertogreco
Spencer's Scratch Pad: educational hoarding
"My problem is not that I need professional development. It's not that I need more nifty strategies to lead me on the way toward becoming a better teacher. I don't need another conference or seminar or workshop or TEN TOP WAYS TO USE TWITTER in my classroom. I don't need more hyperbole. I need more simplicity. I don't need more, I need to learn to do less. I don't need another binder. I need an anti-binder crusader who will help remind me of the essential questions that really are essential - someone to nudge me back toward the question, "Does this help us to live well?""
johnspencer  simplicity  professionaldevelopment  planning  teaching  education  schools  curriculum  less  slowessentials  minimalism  featurecreep  features  featuritis  moreisnotbetter  experience  empowerment  technology  unschooling  deschooling  learning  innovation  focus  lcproject 
september 2010 by robertogreco
BBC News - Cult of less: Living out of a hard drive
"Many have begun trading in CD, DVD, and book collections for digital music, movies, and e-books. But this trend in digital technology is now influencing some to get rid of nearly all of their physical possessions - from photographs to furniture to homes altogether." [More discussion here: http://www.boingboing.net/2010/08/16/article-about-extrem.html ] [Some of these examples sound like trading in physical clutter for digital clutter.]
minimalism  simplicity  consumerism  2010  ownership  future  digital  lifestyle  lifehacks  less  psychology  society  technology  culture  trends  nomads  neo-nomads  travel  homes  homelessness  possessions  materialism  via:lukeneff 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Jonathan Harris . Oct 25, 2009 [Los Angeles]
"By anybody's count, I was having what one might call a Very Good Time. But as the day bore on, the tug of nature grew stronger and stronger on my heart, and all I could think about was getting back up into the mountains. I guess you could call my ailment escapism, but I wonder whether that tired quasi-Buddhist maxim of needing to learn to exist happily in any setting isn't at least a little bit bullshit. Places exert a stabilizing or stultifying energy upon us, and the force of that energy seems proportional to our sensitivity. Life is short, places abound, and some of us are sensitive, so why not find places that provide the kind of energy we need?"

Also: "I prefer the housekeeping philosophy of keeping only those things that provide essential utility or essential nostalgia. It can make for a sparse house, depending on your sentimentality."
jonathanharris  place  nature  losangeles  oregon  buddhism  energy  utility  minimalism  nostalgia  memory  homes 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Minimum viable product - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"A Minimum Viable Product has just those features (and no more) that allows the product to be deployed. The product is typically deployed to a subset of possible customers, such as early adopters that are thought to be more forgiving, more likely to give feedback, and able to grasp a product vision from an early prototype or marketing information. It is a strategy targeted at avoiding building products that customers do not want, that seeks to maximize the information learned about the customer per dollar spent. "The minimum viable product is that version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.""
product  productivity  minimumviableproduct  business  development  marketing  minimalism  prototyping  tcsnmy  startups  process  design  lcproject 
july 2010 by robertogreco
less
"less is a minimalist, and minimal journal exploring the notion of less. Content will include text pieces, short essays, images and other media. Each issue will normally consist of just one piece, either new work or a reprinted piece. less is conceived as an anthology issued in individual parts, each part existing in isolation for contemplation, and yet part of a project that loosely gathers under the conceptual idea of 'less'.

less is edited by Julie Johnstone and published several times a year by Essence Press, normally in a handbound edition of 250. PDF versions can be read on the Essence Press website."

[via: http://twitter.com/ewanmcintosh/status/17712224959 ]
minimalism  journals  srg  less  simplicity  slow 
july 2010 by robertogreco
russell davies: what I meant to say at lift - part one - sharing, physicality, mixtapes and newspapers
"And that made me wonder if that's why people are liking Newspaper Club so much? Are we getting close to some sweet spot where you get the satisfactions of sharing a physical thing but with the convenience of sharing information. Is that what you can get when you add Digital Sharing Technologies to Physical Manifesting Technologies? We're not there yet. We're probably only at Sharing Goods like Sharing Services but even that seems like a step forward. Maybe that's why making your own book feels so right, maybe that's where we need to go next with DataDecs, maybe that's what Shapeways and Ponoko will enable, but I think there's something in this."
russelldavies  clayshirky  newspapers  sharing  music  socialmedia  tangible  technology  papernet  books  behavior  community  culture  post-digital  minimalism  information  mixtapes  ponoko  datadecs  shapeways  digital  satisfaction  services  goods  newspaperclub 
june 2010 by robertogreco
Bunchberry & Fern: Simple but no simpler
"The simple recipe only allows you to copy the crumble. An adult would want to make it their own, to make it better. We want new super-powers . This means teachers and trainers of grown-ups channeling Kathy Sierra. Or Amy Hoy. Perhaps even making yourself obsolete (with a hint of Microwave Learning Objectives).
pretending  play  learning  russelldavies  via:russelldavies  recipes  cooking  teaching  training  engagement  glvo  unschooling  deschooling  science  food  simplicity  minimalism  fun  games  gaming  tcsnmy  designthinking  design 
november 2009 by robertogreco
quietube | YouTube without the distractions
"To watch YouTube videos without the comments and crap, just drag the button below to your browser toolbar. On any YouTube page, click the bookmark button to watch in peace.
youtube  onlinetoolkit  minimalism  mozilla  bookmarklets  webapps  firefox  quietube 
march 2009 by robertogreco
Star Wars: A New Heap - Triple Canopy: Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Death Star.
"30 years ago, American film audiences pressed low in their seats as a massive white wedge of machine parts passed overhead. With release of Star Wars, smooth, silvery flying saucers that had dominated postwar sci-fi became embarrassing reminders of obsolete vision of future...film’s visual program was departure from saucers & occasional capsules writ large that sci-fi audiences had grown accustomed to, but its colorless symmetrical ships should have been recognizable to at least a small portion of its audience—those familiar with contemporary art."... "30 years after...strange chimpanzee crossed another threshold. For first time in 5500 years of building cities, more of humanity now lives in them than in rural settlements. In the coming years there will be countless master plans for new mega-cities in Africa, Asia & South America. We can only hope that these plans will be drawn by disciples of Jane Jacobs, students of Robert Morris, admirers of Robert Smithson & fans of Star Wars."

[via: http://www.kk.org/thetechnium/archives/2008/12/the_used_future.php AND http://www.kottke.org/08/12/star-wars-a-new-heap ]
design  art  culture  architecture  history  writing  film  reading  minimalism  criticism  starwars  aesthetics  sciencefiction  scifi  robertsmithson  georgelucas  robertmorris  janejacobs  modernism  future  cities  urbanism  critique 
december 2008 by robertogreco
Viridianism's last note: surround yourself with beautiful, excellent things and get rid of all else - Boing Boing
See some of the comments like: "He wants to help the environment, yet his lifestyle involves numerous airplane flights. If his location on the planet is completely arbitrary, why doesn't he pick one place and stay put? It's obvious that Sterling's philosophy is still determined by his personal preferences, rather than an objective philosophy." AND "This sounds a lot like 'Consume as much as you like, just don't keep the evidence.' I don't mind it as an aesthetic but I don't think it's a useful way to live if you are trying to address or even helpfully acknowledge global warming. You're kidding yourself.

Also, encouraging people to live globally - as in, actually physically moving between countries frequently - is crazy consumptive and isn't going to be a sustainable activity any time soon. Don't pretend you aren't vastly over consuming your share of our natural resources."
materialism  consumption  conservation  economics  sustainability  minimalism  nomads  brucesterling  corydoctorow  green  technology  culture  philosophy  viridianism  globalwarming 
november 2008 by robertogreco
Click opera - Kuruma banare: post-car Japan
"Demotorisation has been happening in Japan since 1990. *According to the BBC, Japanese new car sales for May 2008 were only about half what they were in May 1990.* In 1990 7.8 million new cars were purchased in Japan. In 2007, only 5.4 million were bough
japan  momus  future  cities  cars  transportation  bikes  trends  change  simplicity  minimalism  materialism 
june 2008 by robertogreco
How to Live With Just 100 Things - TIME
"100 Thing Challenge, a grass-roots movement in which otherwise seemingly normal folks are pledging to whittle down their possessions to a mere 100 items."

[via: http://www.kottke.org/remainder/08/06/15881.html ]
via:kottke  materialism  consumption  simplicity  minimalism  neo-nomads  nomads  possessions  excess  culture  trends  clutter  organization  ownership 
june 2008 by robertogreco
Meaning Of Time by Bomi Kim » Yanko Design
"The Meaning of Time is a brilliant clock concept perfect for all those crafty people out there. It supplies the mechanism to keep time, you supply the hour and minute hands. You can use just about anything as long as it fits thru the holes."
design  clocks  time  craft  minimalism  meaning  make 
may 2008 by robertogreco
Simple Living Manifesto: 72 Ideas to Simplify Your Life | Zen Habits
"It means getting rid of many of the things you do so you can spend time with people you love and do the things you love. It means getting rid of the clutter so you are left with only that which gives you value." Good list.
via:preoccupations  simplicity  productivity  tips  lifehacks  minimalism  life  organization  frugality  freedom  happiness 
may 2008 by robertogreco
Leisure and Business Travel Packing List - Travel Light with One Bag!
"overpacking tops the list of biggest travel mistakes...this Web site, offering exhaustive detail on the art and science of travelling light, going pretty much anywhere, for an indefinite length of time, with nothing more than a single (carryon-sized) bag
travel  howto  packing  tips  reference  productivity  efficiency  minimalism 
may 2008 by robertogreco
How to Pack Everything You Own in One Bag : NPR
"But one packing expert says it is possible to put your belongings in a single piece of luggage. Doug Dyment, whose Web site onebag.com is devoted to the art of traveling light, says the key is to make a list in advance of what to pack and stick with it.
travel  howto  packing  tips  reference  productivity  efficiency  minimalism 
may 2008 by robertogreco
Nau: The Thought Kitchen: If You Knew Everything About Tomorrow, What Would You Do Differently Today?
“minimalism” & “sustainability” taking on significant currency..reject hyper-consumption as not just excessive, but actually damaging to themselves, others & to the planet...basic shift in identity/mentality of people, as they make transition from
sustainability  simplicity  slow  minimalism  trends  consumerism  consumption  citizenship  community  environment  materialism  local  corporations  responsibility  activism 
april 2008 by robertogreco
A Brief Message: No Resistance Is Futile
"Six(1) words(2) can(3) tell(4) a(5) story(6) (while five is too small). Constraints (write without the letter “e”; use only one-syllable words; make every sentence exactly N words [see Oulipo and Georges Perec]) can force me (and you!) out of windbaggery and make certain things possible. Not long ago, tasked to review 763 songs at a swoop, I cut the review length to six words and suffered not at all.

Now when I face a new writing project, I open a spreadsheet. I want a grid to keep track of sources and dates, or to make certain that the timeline of a story makes sense. The grid imposes brevity. Relationships between sentences are exposed. Editing becomes a more explicit act of sorting, shuffling, balancing paragraphs. In this spirit, I'm rewriting some blog software to read directly from Excel. We'll see how that goes.

Socialist writer and textile artist William Morris said, “You can't have art without resistance in the materials.” Blessed and burdened with the most malleable medium in human history, we are overwhelmed by a surfeit of dross, battered by chatter. There are benefits to gain by adding, in the form of constraints, some resistance to the materials."

[Wayback: https://web.archive.org/web/20080327183946/http://abriefmessage.com/2008/03/24/ford/ ]
paulford  minimalism  howwework  simplicity  constraints  excel  productivity  writing  spreadsheets  2008  williammorris 
march 2008 by robertogreco
StrangeHarvest.com::Folk Football: Landscape, Space and Abstraction
"Pitches have an extraordinary beauty that has evolved from chaotic vernacular origins. Somewhere in that minimalist arrangement of rectangles circles and dots is a trace of the landscapes of folk football centre circle as lake, penalty area as village g
architecture  football  history  landscape  minimalism  via:cityofsound  sports 
february 2008 by robertogreco

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