I often find myself wondering what the world was like before humans and capitalism came along and messed it all up. I’ll be walking down a street, imagining what it looked like before the pavement went down, and the buildings and manipulated landscaping were put onto it. Its all so calculated and formulaic and clichéd. What’s more unnatural then a perfectly manicured lawn? That is what nature has become, pre-planned generally uninspired bits of greenery, surrounding unoriginal buildings. Most people look at these perfect bits of lawn and landscaping with envy – I look at them and see gas belching polluting leaf blowers and lawn mowers keeping them perfectly clean at just the right height, and poisonous chemical cocktails keeping away the weeds and any pests or creatures that have the temerity to actually think this perfect expanse of green is natural and would make a good home or place to explore and travel through.
There is such a total disconnect with nature that we no longer interact with it and enjoy it but rather see it as an exhibit behind glass to be viewed instead of our organic environment to be a part of and most importantly INSPIRED BY. In this age where we are seemingly more connected then ever (to each other, to the rest of the world, to digital life) we are more disconnected from our natural world. To try and get back to it, spend some time with a child – absorb their absolute and complete wonder of the world – their excitement and animation as they interact WITH nature, as opposed to nature being something outside of us that we are separate from – viewed safely on a television screen or from behind a window (or worse, not viewed at all!). When designing a home, let nature inspire you, let nature be a consideration for the flow of the spaces, the colors chosen, the placement of the home on the land (if you are lucky enough to building something new). Make sure to consult the natural world every step of the way, and incorporate nature by blurring the lines between inside and outside. Expand your sense of space by including the endless sweep of nature outside your windows and doors. My bedroom walls are almost entirely glass, every morning I wake up and am newly inspired by the mulit-hued sunrise, every evening when I go to sleep I am entranced by the moon and its glow, the stars and their magic, the flora and fauna, wildlife, the water and endless horizon beyond – it is all breathtaking and sustains me. I look out and connect to a wild place. If I do not take a literal photograph to capture interesting details of ideal color and texture, then I take a mental picture and file them away to be used at some future time, on some future project. So use nature, use it to make you feel happy, use it to be a part of – use it for color inspiration (see my blog on inspiration….) and you will always be reminded of the perfection of a crisp fall day in Upstate New York, or a rainy spring day where the wetness brings out such a saturation of color and texture that you are mesmerized by it, or whatever it is that inspires you in nature.