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The pleasure of quality

10 October 2021
The pleasure of quality

Noun, plural qual·i·ties - an essential or distinctive characteristic, property or attribute as belonging to or distinguishing a thing - character with respect to fineness or grade of excellence.

The above are descriptions defining how we evaluate the term quality. In relation to our living space, quality is the number one attribute, symbolising wellbeing, little to do with money but much with care. Quality, close to my heart for many reasons so I must elaborate.

We like to connect identity, heritage and culture automatically with the attribute of quality, which is valid, yet this ‘thing quality’ is so often ignored in its complexity. It might be that anonymous fast paced living lures to bypass this precious thing. What is it? It starts with this very moment right now, simply breathing, something so basic, happily bypassed yet so valuable.

Today’s perception of luxury is seen synonymously with quality has already shifted as the understanding for clean air and water have replaced the value of any precious materials, it symbolises health and good health makes for a quality life. The race for life giving basics has long started and getting ever more relevant. The way we live is shifting fast, more and more are looking for solutions to simplify life while we are much caught up in the traps of the latest 'thing' and its demands. New ideas and ways to embrace technology is at the forefront but parallel likewise the demand for clean basics is pressing on as our survival depends at its very core. The way we live includes all aspects of life.

A 'fresh breeze' is what we are looking for when changing house, when deciding to remodelling a bit or just throwing out old cushions. The value of our creation is defined by our careful selection of materials and their provenance and the attention to detail. What, where and why we choose to use, why we like what we have chosen and does it fit our lifestyle and space to easy daily demands. We understand a holistic approach is essential, all is connected. Where do the materials come from? Plundered for short term profit or long grown, carefully produced by people who know what they are doing and why and therefore giving sustainability a chance, adding quality to the product, supporting health, wealth and prosperity today and for the future. Does our monetary exchange support the 'other' or does it destroy the land and its people? These are existentialist questions we no longer can ignore.

Oiva Toikka bird for Iittala

We are all part of the circle of decision making, defining quality or choosing the absence of it. We have the power to influence our life and that of others, its a spiders net. What is truly valuable will always be of value to all. Quality supports as it is there for long term stability. And support and stability is what creates security and belonging, belonging to the space we create and feel proud of, not being anonymous in our own skin. If we care for space, space cares for us, creating a magic duality, enriching and supporting life.

It's fun to listen to space, understand what it wants, to function well, its an interaction, a play. We might think, we decide such ‘trivialities’ as colours for our walls but actually space decides what colour it wants and if we care to listen, it will help bringing much balance into our life.

Care and understanding of space and materials create healthier living. Of course care for education and manufacturing comes likewise into place, inspiring people of all ages to learn a trade and so be well equipped to tackle the demands at hand. This needs an educational system providing knowledge at high standards for all , which is paramount for a sense of collective value, supporting development, culture and wellbeing.

All is one and one is all. Someone willing to reflect, spurred by education is more prone to be selective and caring in all areas of life which again is more sustainable and supports all elements of success for our everyday. The ‘something for nothing' idea is outdated and a thing of the past, new solutions bring progress, embracing true values, all to be at the forefront.

By returning to our roots of making, crafting, designing, building, our world would be a better place. We can use quality in design to work on behalf of the human spirit, to uplift physically and spiritually, to connect to ourselves, then to others. Quality elevates, nurtures and improves our lot. It intertwines our spiritual and material wellbeing.

hedgehog in good comany

Quality includes ethics, awareness, values, business, sourcing, production, consuming, all shaping the world we live in. What we take, what we make and what we waste is all part of our understanding of quality and our perception of the value of life. No one is excluded, we each have unlimited responsibility for ‘the total’.

Choosing high quality sustainable products is a way to pay respect to all parts involved in production, material, producer, distributer and end-user. Care increases durability and enriches our lives with a quality exceeding the material status. It is a pleasure to contribute, adding value, caring and sharing. so let’s pursue quality.

Thoughts taken from ‘Why Beauty is key to everything’ by Alan Moore

Ilse Crawford for George Jensen