Chaotic Design Can Be Beautiful
Finding beauty amidst chaos
can sometimes be tricky; especially if you’re like me and you revel in organization, order and cleanliness.
I learned to be more open minded about my surroundings during my travels through Southeast Asia mainly because this is not a part of the world that understands the value of personal space. Sometimes the simplest of procedures such as buying a guava off a street vendor can result in a violation of one’s personal bubble (by North American standards). I never took the shoving and pushing personally – after all, everyone just wants to get ahead, to be first and to get by (also a very different mentality than North America); and you can see this in the way people walk, how they interact and most importantly, how they DRIVE.
I will never forgot the most chaotic experiences I had while in Vietnam any (and every) time I had to cross the street. Have you ever had to cross a major street in big-city Vietnam that is void of stop lights, stop signs or sidewalks? It’s a challenge, that’s for sure.
Here’s a bird’s eye view of an intersection that I recorded from the second storey of a nearby building (imagine crossing the street here!):
That’s right, people. A simple procedure that we usually partake in every day became one of the most anxiety-inducing aspects of my day.
As you can see, the abundance of motorbikes and scooters that swerve around each other and weave in and out of traffic are doing so all at the risk of smashing into one another, and yet, I only witnessed a single accident (between a car and a gentleman on a scooter) during my three weeks in Vietnam. Not too bad considering how reckless and chaotic the traffic system (or lack thereof) seems to be.
Clearly we can learn about the value of organized chaos, and learn to look beyond the unknown, scary elements of surprise and embrace the unusual, the uncomfortable and the unfathomable. The same can be said for design.
These videos of chaotic Vietnamese street life remind me of the Bearscave Meeting Room Interior. This space used to be a shop but has since been converted into headquarters for a computer firm.
The meeting room ceiling treatment intends to translate the chaotic power of an uncontrolled energy; “a wood vortex out of a natural disaster.” Just like the dozens of scooters that go whipping by in the streets of Saigon and Hanoi, it seems as though the ceiling element to this space has an uncontrollable sense of movement and power (which is a very difficult expression to capture in an interior).
The Bearscave project is located in a covered alley in the 2nd arrondissement of Paris, France.
Speaking of chaotic design that still emulates a sense of harmony and beauty, check out these classic beauties:
While each example is completely different from the next in terms of chaotic qualities (calculated and compacted vs. free-formed, curvaceous and flowing), there is one strong commonality: sometimes beauty can be born out of chaos…whether we’re talking about the calculated madness of the traffic in Vietnam or the calculated precision of the weirdness of architecture, both cases of chaos are worthy of reflection.
Now in case you were wondering how we actually managed to cross the street, you are in luck. I have video footage of myself trying to dodge oncoming vehicles that seem uncomfortably too close for comfort.
Hope you enjoyed this rather unusual Passport To Design post today – the comparisons between the travel and design aspects of this reflection are a little far-fetched, but I just had to share these ridiculous videos with you and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to squeeze in a peek of the Bearscave Meeting Room too!
Thanks for reading :)