Inspired: Mickey Stretton – Utile & Beau

What’s not to love about Richard Buckminster Fuller? OK, his habit of wearing three watches may not have caught on, and his penchant for white suits may not be to everyone’s taste, but who can’t identify with someone who makes up words to describe exactly what he means?

Eccentic? Probably. Visionary? Almost certainly. His Dymaxion car, Geodesic dome design or his Global Energy Grid may not have solved the world’s transportation, shelter and energy needs, but if you look beyond that you’ll see a man who, in his own words, devoted his life to discovering ’what a penniless, unknown human individual might be able to do effectively on behalf of all humanity’.

His true legacy, therefore, might be his progressive design thinking, his enduring philosophy of design as a social science and the concept of ’ephemeralisation’ – the act of ’doing more with less’. In an age where sustainable design and nanotechnology are hot topics du jour, it may well be the case that his ’design science revolution’ has only just begun.

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