Funny how sometimes a low-tech product can outlive a high-tech one because there are fewer components to fail. And its interesting to, before we throw our oldies to be dismantled and melted away, take a moment to examine what they are made of and how it has aged with time, because their fading reveal the stuff they’re actually made of.
These products spent most of their working time sporting our life patterns and the truth is that consumer products are ‘new’ for only a very short moment when they are first removed from the packaging, but yet spend the great majority of their useful lives as ‘used’ products in the process of decay. Many people like to break in products like a leather wallet or a pair of fancy jeans, as this is accepted as aesthetically-pleasing. The Japanese have a term for this, “Wabi-sabi”. Wabi-sabi can be used to describe the aesthetically pleasing wear of an object as it decays over time. It’s a notion that embraces the transience of objects and celebrates the purity of the imperfect. Aging with dignity is a criteria designers should maybe recognize in their efforts. The world could seriously benefit from a mentality as such, a future where products are designed not just for the moment they are new, but for when they have been worn and become more perfect.