Happy new year
Not the usual good wishes, but a concrete project for the near future. Happiness is the key word of architects and artists, governments and companies. Starting off right
According to major world universities, the GNH ( Gross National Happiness) of a country is a key element of its socio- economic value. Bhutan is number one in the world, with low per capita wealth but high levels of wellbeing thanks to spiritual/ environmental stability. Last November, Dubai Design Week dedicated the talk ‘ Culture, community and collaboration: the architecture of happiness’ to the Parisotto + Formenton and Mario Cucinella studios. ‘ Building Happiness’ was, on the other hand, the common thread running through the 2018 Architecture Film Festival in Rotterdam. Today, happiness is a key theme in the global debate. Why did you start to focus on happiness? “I was convinced that the shape of an object was secondary to its function. I was wrong. If something is designed well or badly it makes a difference to how we feel,” replies Stefan Sagmeister, a creative who opened the debate on the topic back in 2012. Today, when economic, climatic and social crises are objective urgencies, it is fundamental to think and act positively. In design, funny shapes, ‘ smiles’ or high- impact colours are often aesthetic choices to present profound concepts. One example is the work of the Rive Roshan duo, who explore the link between design and happiness. Speaking of architecture and urban planning, the Dutch architects at UNStudio are experimenting with the UNSense lab projects with a focus on wellness, while Conscious Cities is a movement that started out in London and in a recent talk focused on empathic spaces, designed to bring out positive emotions. With, in addition to statistical data, a ( happy) model: small and medium- sized Italian cities, where the slow pace of life and community business are practices that should be exported to allglobal metropolises.