Slow Living

Overconnection to technology drives consumers’ desire to unplug and take a real break

For many of us, the constant pulse of information emanating from our smartphones, along with their right-now responsiveness and always-on convenience, have turned them into tiny rectangular traps. To get out, we slow down, turn our attention selfward, seek mental and physical well being, appreciate the age-worn, and embrace the imperfection of objects formed by human hands.

These explorations lead us look for local craftsman who can develop bespoke items, engage us in their process, and teach us about their techniques. We may even take it upon ourselves to learn artisan skills, become immersed in antiquated arts, or even take up a craft as a cathartic hobby.

Beyond the physical, growing awareness of mental health is inspiring individuals to reflect upon the whole state of their being. Everyday spaces, objects, and materials are reconsidered in terms of how they affect our minds, bodies, and souls. For example, when considering seating, we may find that lowering our center of gravity and surrounding ourselves with rich, soothing textures helps us feel physically and mentally grounded. Thoughtful design that incorporates an understanding how the person will use and interact with the product differentiates the exceptional brands from those that are merely good.

The concern for wellness does not mean that consumers want to shed technology completely. Rather, they wish to use it for good, and in ways that enhance their well being. Thus, product designers must think first of how their products will impact the overall health of their consumer, assist in this process of slowing down, and yet still meet the convenience threshold to which technology has accustomed us. This is the balance the maker, the retailer, and the designer must strike to successfully address the Slow Living movement: turn that tiny rectangular trap into a portal that leads us back to experiences that are real, affirming, inclusive, and healing.