Finding Inspiration in a Crumpled Piece of Paper

ENVIRON Inc.: Thrive Through Design
Dare to look around.
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As designers, we are often asked what inspires us. It is a broad question and can render many answers. When an idea arises, it can be from the culmination of a series of events, or even a single random experience. What inspires us is forever changing, as it should be.

With the daily grind of drafting and modeling, sometimes the “why” is lost.  As much as routine is comforting, do you ever have a day when something happens that shakes you out of the expected? And even if it interrupts your flow, somehow you’re energized?

Finding inspiration in the unexpected or mundane is something we need to be reminded of, and when we need a little boost, we return to this video from time to time:
Not only does it give us a chuckle, the message is that even a mistake or accident can generate a unique thought and lead us on a path we weren’t planning to take.
At a recent AIA event in which Environ's office was one of five downtown Long Beach firms toured, we spread the humor and challenged the attendees to come up with a design using a sheet of paper. The time limit was thirty seconds at which point each contestant was told to place their creations down to be judged. Competition was fierce and prizes were categorized as “A Builder’s Dream,” “A Builder’s Nightmare,” and “Most Creative.”
Related: One man's trash is another man's building.
Rafael Vinoy's 432 Park Avenue Skyscraper was inspired by a 1905 trash can designed by Josef Hoffman.
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Many famous inventions happened by accident. Did you know that a melted candy bar led to the modern-day microwave? Or how about Velcro? This was invented after an engineer returned from walking his dog and noticed how perfectly the cockleburs bound to the dog’s fur. Indeed, nature has often been named as an inspiration to designers, and will forever hold clues to your next big idea.

So, as the AIA campaign slogan says, “Look up.” But why not take it a step further and look around; open your mind to being excited by the what's around you.

Stay inspired.

Even something as seemingly mundane as a crumpled piece of paper can become a masterpiece.

Related: One man's trash is another cat's favorite toy.
Related: This painting by Alejandra Quintanilla can be seen at MoLaa right here in Long Beach. Café / Coffee, 2001 Oil on canvas, 49 ¾ x 61 in.
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