I've been exploring Bali the last few days, something immediately hits you at the airport, the beauty in all directions, especially in what is typically mundane.
Around the island 98% of things are the most beautiful things you've ever seen, and 1% the most ugly.
Schools seem crafted with care and rich ornamentation. Shops seemingly have shrines on top, every chair is considered an opportunity to make someone feel something. Every doorway is a threshold to celebrate. Every surface is a chance to delight with added detail and meaning. The built world as a chance to convey feelings and stories.
From garages to building supply stores, to police stations to airports to this water tank tower, everything seems to have beauty in mind.
It makes me think a lot.
For much of the world, especially America, we may care a bit about design, but aesthetics seem frivolous and superficial. The ornate is wasteful.
Buildings are designed in Excel, Architects fight for slightly more expensive finishes, or for more detailing, but the default ( since international movement ) has long been away from decoration. Embellishment can't be justified and delight can't be measured.
From the daily offerings littering the world adding a sense of gratitude, to food crafted with pride, one gets the feeling beauty is something to be added where possible.
It makes you realize how special things can be. People pondering how can this be more beautiful. Every surface isn't something to get done, but an opportunity to enrich. Every table, every corner, every wall, every post, every fence, every floor.
There are many more realizations, the power of making things by hand, the wonder of a place with rich natural materials, the power of aesthetics to create pleasure. A world where housing isn't shelter as a respite from the elements, but where inside and outside have little to divide them. I've also never been anywhere were so many people are busy making things, so much productivity and creation along every street, in the smallest of villages, to make so many things.
Lots more I'd love to say but it's early days and don't want to spread my ignorance, only been here a couple of times before and yet to understand any depth to most aspects of the place.
But it's a wonderful, joyous, appreciative place to be and it makes me realize many things about purpose and cherishing what brings us pleasure in design.
Is the only thing stopping us from creating a world of wonder and delight through garnish, adornment and artistry, simply that it creates feelings we can't possible explain, let alone justify in a world of data. Have we assumed that beautification is superficial and gratuitous when in fact it may be core to some forms of contentment or even propelling us to forms of gratification .