Saturday, May 30, 2009

An Example of Elegance

I just finished Matt May's new book In Pursuit of Elegance: Why the Best Ideas Have Something Missing, which I had been waiting for.

Matt explores the elements of Elegance in innovations of different types - technological elegance, fast food elegance, architectural elegance, elegance in top athlete training, elegance in art, etc. This variety of fields covered makes it truly an interesting book and for a business book it talks very little about business.

He defines the key elements of Elegance being Symmetry, Seduction, Subtraction and Sustainability.

Symmetry helps us solve problems of structure, order and balance. We notice a lack of symmetry, which is why we can exploit it to our advantage. Elegant solutions can have part of the symmetry missing, and our brain fills it in to make it elegant.

Seduction captivates any attention and activates any imagination. By giving only partial information and leaving something to the imagination, open to temptation, and we are compelled to find answers.

Subtraction helps us solve the problem of economy. Doing less, working smarter. Stopping and thinking of what can be removed to solve a problem - in stead of adding more features and acting upon them.

Sustainability is about achieving and keeping the maximum effect with minimum effort. Sustainability can be achieved With just enough symmetry, seduction and subtraction. If you subtract (remove) too much, the solution will not be sustainable.

While I was finishing the book this morning I saw an ad that seduced me. It was an add by fashion house Gucci, but subtracted to contain a plain T-shirt and a canvas shopping bag. Gucci, along with other top brands, was promoting a movie by Yann Arthus-Bertrand, a master of elegance in photography capturing the symmetry and sustainability of our planet.

The movie will have a unique multi-platform release on June 5th - World Environment Day - in cinemas, on TV, on DVD and on the internet in 14 different languages and in public places like the Eiffel Tower, Paris and Central Park, New York.

I have seen his pictures in two exhibitions and in his books. I bet this movie will have all the Elements of Elegance - Symmetry of landscapes, Seduction to know more about where they are and what the surroundings are like, Subtraction of anything unnecessary to the visual beauty, and Sustainability of our planet, on World Environment Day, and for the years to come.


Anonymous said...

Hi Samuli,

Excellent blog! I have already spread the word.


Samuli said...

Thank you Daddy.