Publication Date: November 7, 2023
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From one of the world’s most innovative designers comes a fiercely passionate manifesto on why so many places have become miserable and boring and how we can make them better for everyone—featuring hundreds of photographs and illustrations that will change how you see the world around you.
We are living through a global catastrophe. Buildings affect how we feel, moment by moment, day by day. They have the power to lift us up and make us feel awestruck, playful, safe, and inspired, just as they can make us feel alienated and sad. But many of the places where we live, work, learn, and heal have become monotonous and disposable. We’re surrounded by cheap, boring buildings that make people stressed, sick, and unhappy. In short, much of our world has been crafted in a way that is hostile to human experience.
Now, drawing on his experience of the last thirty years in making bold, beautiful objects and buildings, Thomas Heatherwick offers both an informed critique of the inhumanity in most of today’s contemporary building design, and a rousing call for action. Looking through Heatherwick’s eyes, we see familiar landmarks and cityscapes around the world, from London, Paris, Barcelona, Singapore, New York, Vancouver, and beyond, both old and new, famous and obscure, to learn how places can either sap the life out of us—or nourish our senses and our psyche. The time has come, he says, to put emotion back at the heart of the design process, and the reasons to do so could not be more urgent. Design is not superficial: it has an impact upon economics, climate change, our mental and physical wellbeing—even the peace and cohesion of our societies.
As citizens and users, we need a world full of architectural diversity that delights and unites us. And as makers and designers, we can help create a world where cities reconnect with their essential mission: to provide human spaces where people mix, meet, inspire each other, and live out their full potential.
Elegantly crafted by Heatherwick’s own studio, and fully illustrated with hundreds of black-and-white photos, Humanize is an urgent call-to-arms for making our world a better place for everyone to live, and provides the vision and tools for us to make it a reality.
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