We Need More Authenticity

When you hear the word authentic what comes to mind?

My fear is that most people will not picture the beautiful places, unique products or innovative practices their travels have brought them upon.  Unfortunately, they will think of all the fakes.  There are those things out there that using slight of hand or stucco covered foam want us to believe they are real, or are of quality and actually possess the mystical characteristics that add true value.  Why are we still spending so much of our day making these inauthentic things?

In a time when a dollar means more to everyone I just do not see how there is room for bogus efforts.  Throughout history authentic places, products and practices have seemed to improve their value over time.  I am guessing the new economy will require that all of our creations hold their long term value.  I could not be more happy about this because fakes can never be as good as originals.


Cafe Satan

One thought on “We Need More Authenticity

  1. philsmith

    Thanks for your blog Russell. I am also interested in the role of authenticity in creating successful places. Authenticity in design is about honesty of approach (integrity?) and outcome, and the authenticity of an outcome or place is about how well or successfully the place is used or adapted over time.
    I am intrigued that at times the design authenticity or original intent of place is not the necessarily the key determinant of the success of that place. As Enwicht points out the amount of exchange in a place it the determinant of its success, and this is as much about the structure of the place and the way it attracts people and shapes the exchange. This structure (through the process of design) is by its nature contrived, but is made authentic overtime by the patina left behind after years of exchange.

    For me then it is reasonable that in order to maximise the future success of places, they need to be incomplete and robust enough to allow room for change, re-ordering and patina by its users. And in part that is the problem for we designers. We try to manipulate/control and finish everything when designing space, rather than getting the bones right and co-opting the end users to finish things.

    I agree that passion is an important ingredient of achieving authenticity in the deisgn process. I also think that being prepared to fail or have control of the end result taken over by others plays an important part ultimate attainment of authenticity.

    I’d like to continue this dialogue further if we may. Kind regards. Phil S.

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