Empty space as a foundation

I went for a run around the lake this morning. Minus 5 degrees and with the rising sun, the remaining snow turned pink. This lake is for all seasons and the sandy beach with its snack bar,  canoes and lifesaver’s high chair appeared as a frozen theme. A plastic chain of floaters marked the swimming area, together with the beach and the hedge border, created a space for summer fun. A larger empty bubble in the winter.

I looked around and noticed that entire lake was surrounded by such empty bubbles. A duck feeding space for little kids. A lazy space on the lawn for picnics and couples in love. A parking space.

This sort of empty space is what zen Buddhists consider the necessary foundation for form. No space, no form. So far, I always took the view that design starts with form and then for good measure and balance we put it in a suitable space to make it function.

This is all wrong. I should start with empty space. Design with empty space and then figure out how to create that space with form.

When I came home I looked at my garden and could immediately see why certain areas worked well and others didn’t. I could see why some trees look great and others need clever pruning. It’s about the space that is generated by the forms.

How cool is that.

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