09 November 2006

random thought

while reading john maeda's blog this morning, i came across this statement.

Understanding and "listening" to one's materials is a critical factor to finding the most natural form of expression for a set of given constraints.

which was expanded to the original "fifth law of simplicity."

A material's failure to comply to a specific application
provides indication that its more natural usage lies elsewhere.

i couldn't agree more.
and i think there's something there with the "set of given constraints"
but how do you find those constraints?
how do you physically and intuitively understand?
how can we, as teachers, help others learn these constraints?
how can we, as learners, always "hear" the materials?


  1. Hah, I love maeda's blog, I should go read it again one of these days. I have to say it works simillarly with words, a lot of inspiration comes after you have something down on paper, even if you completely abandon it, it's a lot easier to think once you've set up some boundaries for thought, I think it's related to that whole constraint being necessary thing we talked about some months back.

  2. Hmmm. Is that really true? That's like saying "Man can never fly because he has no wings. He is limited to the constraints of his physical body." Yet we managed, with the help of our imagination and our passion, to build tools to help us fly. I guess it's still not the "natural usage" of our body.

    Nevertheless, I would like to argue that even though something might not be "natural", it might still a) be possible, b) worth achieving and most imporantly c) the stuff our dreams and motivations are made off. How else did we ever get to the moon or break any kind of record?

    My 2.5 cents.

    But thanks for alerting me to the fact that Maeda has a blog (bookmarked now). His class was awesome...

  3. But that's the point that it's not our natural mechanical ability to fly but carefully shaped metal wings with petroleum fueled engines are capable of flight ... with us inside them.

  4. exactly, irene.

    it's our understanding of the materials that aircraft are made of as well as our understanding of air/fluids that allow us to manipulate the materials to enable flight. when it comes down to it, a material is what it is. we cannot force wood to act as if it's steel any more than we can turn lead into gold. we can only choose the right material for the job. and if we're forced to use one material, our designs must be constrained by them.

    basically, we cannot force any material object to be other than it is. we can simply understand the nature of it and work within those constraints.