Oh, to live in a world where one is surrounded by beautiful things! South Africa has such scenic beauty, but I feel I am surrounded by such a dull aesthetic so much of the time. This is an environment wallpapered in dullness. In faux Tuscan houses. Comic Sans, Arial or Times New Roman reading material. Mundane marketing.
Having just returned from a week in Amsterdam, I wonder again what my aesthetic sensibility would be like if I were surrounded by buildings of inspiring form, however dated the artistry might be. What shape would my mind take if the newspapers I read daily were of a calibre beyond those of South Africa’s dailies?
I’m all for function over form in daily life. But should our man-created environment be such an anaesthetising influence? Can’t an object be both smart and inspiring? Can’t it do practical things and yet have a presences that is gracious or witty or bold or naughty or…
Take this great example: a brand new font by the legends of typography, Hoefler & Frere-Jones: Ideal Sans (in their words) is “A handmade typeface for a machine-made age. Ideal Sans avoids the easy pursuit of digital perfection, and favors organic forms that make it warm and inviting.”