Whatever I have to say on any topic, there will be parallels. I will take one idea and cross-pollinate it over multiple perspectives. Right now, that idea is slow.
If nothing else, the current times have forced us to slow down.
Roughly 30 years ago, the idea of Slow Food first gained a foothold in popular consciousness. Food grown and procured consciously, and consumed with attention and awareness… results in a healthy, satisfied, and whole mind, body, and spirit.
These days, I am looking at design through the Slow lens.
Not that I want all of my clients to have to wait a long time for their furnishings to arrive, or other design elements to be implemented and installed…
But actually, sometimes I do.
As I often remind clients and friends, it’s the rule of the Iron Triangle: Fast, Cheap, or Good. You cannot have all three. And frankly, if your emphasis is quality, you might as well let go of any attachments to cheap or fast.
Like with Slow Food, this choice, to emphasize quality, which often takes time and a bigger financial investment, will lead to you feeling more nourished. Your design, your home, will taste better.
The photos accompanying this month’s column are from a designers’ tour at Studio Bel Vetro and accompanying lunch at Reeve Winery in Healdsburg, in 2019. The chandeliers — which perfectly demonstrate the values of Slow Design I am describing here — are handmade incorporating classical Murano-glass-blowing techniques. The lunch was a lovely and delicious Slow Food farm-to-table meal.
Slow design is better for you, better for the local economy, and better for the planet. Emphasizing eco-conscious and local production, human-scale handmade techniques, and minimizing the carbon footprint, Slow design can be a socially-conscious act.
If you know me, you know that in addition to design, my passion is personal growth. Thus, I am also seeing the choice of fast design and fast food as equivalent to a spiritual bypass.
When someone uses a spiritual bypass to get through a difficult time in their lives or to deal with confrontation. They are looking for a quick fix. Spiritual bypass is about doing things that may feel good or make you happy in the short term, including glossing over difficulties with affirmations or going on spiritual retreats, while skipping the hard work of looking at underlying systems, of feeling the grief or pain that might be underneath the issues one is facing, all of which means slowing down.
Spiritual seekers and homeowners both can benefit from slowing down. I am a person who has high reverence and regard for connection — to people, to process, and to quality of results, which is what we receive when we slow down and plug into what is true and real.
It may be easier to order food delivered, or order an entire room design from an online retailer, or to pull ourselves together with a quick meditation or prayer and avoid the deeper issues. But in the end, we will have to face the impact of our choices, and be with ourselves.
Which is why I am so emphatic about the importance of good, healthy food; spiritual practices that invite us to look deeply, connect, feel, grieve, and be reborn; and design that takes the values of quality and health into account to create spaces that support humanity and community, and that are as harmonious as possible with caring for our earth.