Daily Design, Daily Tao
--Back to the Ignored Front
Our nation’s dignity, welfare and equality are the original reasons for modernization in the last hundred years.
Chinese architecture has been pioneering in the nation’s modernization for the last three decades. Developments generally focus only on the new ‘futuristic’ frontier - ‘spectacular’ buildings and cities are erected one after another.
Whether we noticed it or not, while claiming victories for spectacular modernization, we are losing our home base. First vanished were our ancient cultural traditions and life style, then the city wall. After that, numerous areas of historic towns and cities were bulldozed. Today, even the most remote villages are coveted by investors.
The traditions we have lost may seem dispensable, but no matter which side you take, the consequences of this rapid development are unbearable: climate change, depleted natural resources and increasing polarization of the rich and poor.
We must focus on the Ignored Front – dignity, welfare and equality. These are more urgent issues than catching the great leap of futuristic development: improving basic living conditions for the poor - rather than the affairs of the rich; decreasing waste - rather than producing more; ceasing pollution of air, water and food - rather than focusing on increasing the speed of traffic and rapidly increasing the size of each city.
When we look closer at this ignored front, those unrelated issues are rooted in the same cause – Materialism: the endless craving for material causes crises for resources and for the environment.
Looking back at our history, generation after generation, we can find that our great ancestors have been telling us the truth all along: Live abstemiously, yet be awed by nature.
This is what we need today to cure the trauma of the Earth and its inhabitants. So how can we return to those values – after we have chosen to abandon them and embrace materialism for past decades? Confucian Wang Geng (1483-1541), is Master Wang Yangming’s student. He believes the truth of life is within life. Daily Tao exists in the daily lives. In fact, he said, “Daily Tao is daily life”. It is true that many old towns and villages as well as traditional architectures are disappearing, but Tao is not. It is still in our people’s daily lives.
Daily Design follows Daily Tao. It satisfies us in our daily lives not by introducing a new future to replace the past, but by polishing the past and integrating it into our daily lives. It doesn’t intervene, instead, it mediates communities. It makes design accessible to the majority’s lives. It does not believe that architecture has a bright future on our planet, unless we act abstemiously and responsibly in the present.
Curator Pavilion of China 15th International Architecture Exhibition la Biennale di Venezia