IS GOD STILL IN THE DETAILS?
ON TUESDAY 19TH AUGUST 1969 — THE NEW YORK TIMES PUBLISHED AN OBITUARY TRIBUTING TO THE DEATH OF THE LEADER OF MODERN ARCHITECTURE — LUDWIG MIES VAN DE ROHE. BESIDES THE PRAISES FOR THE GREATNESS OF HIS WORKS, A SIMPLE PHRASE “GOD IS IN THE DETAILS” HAS EMERGED IN OUR HISTORY. THE QUOTE CONCISELY REFERS TO THE IDEA THAT DETAILS MATTER, DEFINING THAT DESIGNS SHOULD PAY ATTENTION TO THE DETAILS. BUT TODAY IN 2020 OR ALMOST 50 YEARS LATER. IS GOD STILL IN THE DETAILS?
Firstly, let us take a step back and look at the big picture of today’s design world. When people hear the word “art” or “design,” the images translated into their minds might be beautiful architectures, exquisite paintings, or aspiring sculptures. But it seems that we are slightly unaware that art and designs actually surround our lives.
A smartphone, for example ― the device has been continuously developing from its very first design to the latest version. Now we can take it everywhere with its handy size, screen with super retina display for a clear and full view, and minimal rectangular design with beautiful rounded corners. You will see in the details, this little device is designed not only for beauty but for functionality as well.
Well, it’s not only the smartphone, but everything we touch is art and design: laptop, notebook, bag, even a pair of sneakers or a hat that you wear. All items have been developed through complicated processes, focusing on every single detail before it’s manufactured to improve our quality of life. It is “the details” that play a significant role as a tool integrating practical design and emotional functions together.
Comment on this idea by Rom Sangkavatana, the managing director of bespoke branding and design company.
Rom Design studio has made a great impact on Thailand art and design circle. “We created products based on creativity and meaning. Our production consisted of timeless pieces, which fulfil the needs of today but at the same time communicating a lasting message for the future. In other words, we cultivated identities without an expiry date, as this is what we believe great designs should do. Therefore, we pay great attention to the details, including our philosophy on reaching out to people, surrounding space and course of actions; that’s how values are created. Despite the clean and simple appearance, each design communicated meaning, life and connections through the details.”
You will find meaning in the details
And yes, finally, now in 2020 or 50 years later. God is still in the details.
The idiom, “God is in the details” has most notably been attributed to the German― born architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe by The New York Times in Mies’s 1969 obituary. However, the expression also appears to have been a favourite of theGerman art historian Aby Warburg. In an earlier form, “Le bon Dieu est dans le détail”― the good God is in the detail — is generally attributed to the French Realism novelist, Gustave Flaubert (1821–1880).