Design is Hospitality

 “The paradox of hospitality is that it wants to create emptiness, not a fearful emptiness, but a friendly emptiness where strangers can enter and discover themselves as created free; free to sing their own songs, speak their own languages, dance their own dances; free also to leave and follow their own vocations. Hospitality is not a subtle invitation to accept the lifestyle of the host, but the gift of a chance for the guest to find his/her own.”

– Henri Nouwen


This could have been written just as accurately about design and the creative process.  Both are the creation of something with an eye on the space left un-created.  In fact, the word design spells this out explicitly.  Negative space is an invitation to the viewer to discover themselves in light of the content.  Well designed negative space gives room for healthy discourse.  Brainstorming is emptying of oneself in this friendly way, so that ideas may invite themselves in.


To take it a step further, when executed with excellence there is no separation between design and hospitality.  After all, what is design for if not to make our world a more inhabitable, inviting space where people are free to be themselves?

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