serenity

by catarina clemente

“Wherever I go, I look or people who have achieved tranquility. Occasionally it is to be found in a person who has dedicated his or her life to a religious order. People who alleviate suffering often have a serenity in their work. The very young, who know no pain, and the very old, who acknowledge and accept suffering, may know this feeling. Next to inner serenity, a person can aspire to live and work in an environment of meditative calm. But even serenity can mean different things to different people. I have been in great cathedrals and become almost belligerent at their busy architecture, their vulgar and excessive decoration, and their raw and brilliant stained glass. […] Nature, perhaps, supplies the best atmosphere for this feeling. The forest, with its deep shade and singing birds, can bring solace, but a turbulent sea, a heavy rainfall, a gale, by their simplicity and immensity, can also bring quiet. I have the temerity to suggest that, by reducing objects to simple, unobtrusive forms, by relieving them of absurd and excessive decoration, by using appropriate colors and textures, and by avoiding obtrusive noises, we contribute to the serenity of those who use them.”

– Henry Dreyfuss, in “Designing for People”

let your watchword be order and your beacon beauty

– Daniel Burnham

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