These are thrifty times and in prolonged periods of crisis we have to do more with less and reduce consumption of energy, materials and land, in other words avoid waste. Also, possibly, trying out a new and lower-key equilibrium. The appeal of less is more, as proclaimed by the brilliant English designer, Benjamin Hubert, a simultaneously ancient and new idea. In times gone by, in the extraordinary development of Europe from romanticism to the 20th century, this was in fact the rule of great artists ready to build a new aesthetic by revolutionising painting and writing, and of composers such as Anton Webern and Erik Satie, focused, in the piano sonatas, on a music which is crisp, linear, sparse and written without superfluity. The elegance of modernity. 

 

A century later, seeking a way out from the over-indulgence of flamboyant opulence and unbridled consumerism (neglecting imbalances and debts), here we are again, ready to restate the need for the basic. An ethical choice, for a more sustainable world and an aesthetic choice, in perfect harmony. 

 

Carlotta De Bevilacqua, leading entrepreneur in Italy’s excellent lighting industry and famous worldwide, insists that “doing away with something is a mark of intelligence, above all in terms of material, weight, bulk, hours of production, energy input and rejects” (CasAmica, 6 April). These are good intentions and also production strategies in the best companies, the most cultured and responsible ones. Not a “happy decline” (pretentious ideology) but instead the guarantee of an elegant and functional choice of the essential. 

 

New design and product cultures, a radical change in the patterns of production and consumption, including for new-generation tyres obviously. Less rubber, lower weight, lower friction, lower consumption of car fuel, less costly and polluting mineral silica to be replaced by vegetal silica from rice waste. A very green and sustainable procedure for a “musical” tyre in Satie style. 

16/04/2013