Slow Design for Mindful Living

The home. The marketplace. The office.

In a modern and industrialized society, these are the triumphant spheres of inhabitance. Cushioned, crafted, and conditioned spaces tell a story of the very quintessential desires of humankind through their construction, accommodations, and decoration. Yet, if we look closely, often we can find products of unethical manufacturing compromised of synthetic materials with unabashed shelf-lives tacitly displayed on their facades. Due to their affordability and availability, these pieces could soon be discarded and replaced easily with the click of a mouse, allowing most modern markets to cater to this style of utilization- anxious consumption, quick buys, and one-stop shops. The vestiges of trendy interiors and impulse purchases begin to make a notable impact and the topic of integrated sustainability surfaces from beneath the mountains of jettison furniture, clothing, and artifacts. We need to begin to reevaluate our consumptive patterns and gear our practices towards considering the quality of our products and how they contribute to the conservancy of our resources. Thus emerges a practice known as ‘Slow Design.’


Slow Design works toward enhancing individuals, businesses, societies, and the environment, with an overarching tenet of symbiosis.


Slow Design is the practice and performance of mindfulness in design that contemplates and compares the characteristics of goods and services. By going the ‘slow’ route to avoid expediting purchases and production, we ensure a significant and eminent result. Products and services of uncontested value employ pensive composition, work closely to nature, and exhibit durability by design. When we look for ethical and quality practices, we begin to entrench merit in our products. When we remove angst from the consumption process, we begin to entrench longevity in our collections. 



Tips and tricks for slowing down:


Repurpose- Repurpose items before deep-sixing them. Examine things as if they are undergoing a change of phase. What is this piece’s next step? Find specialty consignments shops or reach out to local antiquarians. Envision a new chapter for the item. Explore options before opting for the curb.   


Buy Smart- Buy items that have longevity and avoid consumable goods. Consider your options when shopping- do I really need this right now? Could I source a more ecological friendly and durable version online or at a specialty store? Can I return to this purchase at a later date when it is more significant or relevant? By evaluating our shopping habits we can point out patterns that do not serve our true needs and have potentially detrimental effects at the expense of our global resources. 


Invest- Make purposeful purchases that will sustain through the decades. When available, be mindful and aim for quality over quantity. Thinking long term and investing more up front can help you avoid spending more down the road on repairs and replacements. 


Consider Adaptability- Source items that exhibit versatility and adaptability.  Furnish your home with pieces that work in a profusion of environments. Try to avoid limiting yourself with articles and items that only fit one narrative. Modular and multipurpose pieces are a great way to anticipate the growth and development of your tastes and needs.    



As we press forward in society and industry, sustainability becomes an indispensable ally, and slow design it’s chief contrivance. Prioritizing more ecological agency and promoting harmony as the major operating philosophy of design is of principal importance. Resource management with concern for the environment, as well as mindfulness in the marketplace is a lifelong practice and discipline, but is widely available to everyone.


Explore your city or surrounding community, discover local craft vendors, and take a look beneath the surface of the modern-day consumer experience. There are a lot of beautiful things waiting just underneath. 

Melissa Hargus