I’d like to tell you about a new aesthetic term called "beausage". It sounds French but it’s not; instead it’s a synthetic combination of the words beauty and usage, and describes the beauty that comes with using something.
- Roman amphitheater steps whose faces are worn away by the tread of thousands and thousands of shoes
- Stone chips on the hood of a Ferrari 250 which has been run hard and put away wet
- A bike seat whose adapted form reflects that of its owner’s posterior
- The look and feel of the cockpit of the old Mercedes pictured above (a jumble of replacement gauges and parts, obviously used a lot) — that’s 91 years of beausage!
How, you may ask, is beausage any different than patina? Well, it’s certainly related, but different. Patina is really more about surface level changes happening at a chemical level: oxidation, chemical stripping, and so on. Beausage describes changes that happen in 3D where atoms get torn and stripped away, as occurs with scratches, tears, chips, and wear marks. I used to say "patina" when what I really meant was "beausage". It’s nice to have both.
I wish I could say I coined it, but the term beausage is the brainchild of Grant Petersen, grand pooh-bah of Rivendell Bicycle Works and probably the single most brilliant, holistic, and intuitive brand creator out there. I mention Grant not only for intellectual attribution, but because he’s going to help us bring this back into the world of creating cool stuff. Grant states that "In general, real materials develop beausage, and synthetics look like old junk. It’s like a cowpokes’s old denim jacket, versus an old polyester leisure suit…".
Beausage is something for all products and their designers to aspire to. When the chrome on the back of my iPod scratched away, the resulting exposed grey plastic made the thing feel cheap and ephemeral — the opposite of what a good chrome finish should have done. Imagine an iPod that looked better (beausage) the more it got used. When you start to conceive of finishes not as veneers but as reservoirs of meaning via beausage, then you’re giving your customers something that will continue to provide satisfaction through the ages.
Roman amphitheater steps whose faces are worn away by the tread of thousands and thousands of shoes
Stone chips on the hood of a Ferrari 250 which has been run hard and put away wet
A bike seat whos…
Diego Rodriguez at Metacool posts about what he calls
isn’t it wonderful, how the ipod is the new epicentre of every design discussion?
be it as a positive or as a negative example…
or better: the ipod is the “prime meridian” – and apple the “greenwich” of our new business/product world.
when – one fine day – steve jobs gets his place in the history-books, he will be remembered for this.
the good thing about the ipod success is not that this little product has sent millions and millions of individuals back into isolation… the good thing is, that it has brought design on the agenda.
and the good thing is, that steve jobs by no means does mistake design with styling or make-up.
design back to its bauhaus-roots.
sachlichkeit is not a style. it is an attitude.
a wonderful and strong lesson. let’s hope, that we all will profit from this.
(and let’s hope, apple gets this rather distasteful material problem fixed…. 😉
i never forget this dialogue between bill gates and steve jobs in the 90s docu-drama “pirates of silicon valley”
sj: “you know what the problem with you guys is, bill?… you guys have got absolutely no taste!”
bg: “you know what, steve… IT DOES NOT MATTER!”
2005 – looks like it matters…
let’s hope so.
and do not forget to read: “in the bubble” by john thackara
Nice find Diego! As a writer turned designer, I have a huge fondness for the creation of new words that articulate a concept well and add to the utility of the language. Beausage is exactly the sort of goal I’m aiming for with the objects and furnishings I create these days… whereas, when I first started out, I was making found object art in order to call attention to bits and pieces that had already developed beausage. Cool.
As neologisms go, “beausage” doesn’t strike me as terribly good design. The word is too reminiscent of “sausage,” and the spelling doesn’t make the pronunciation clear. How French should it be? Boh-sage? Bee-usage? I’m sticking to patina, which has traditionally included non-chemical wear.
On a more positive note, here’s a quote from Jun’ichiro Tanizaki’s In Praise of Shadows, written in 1933: “I suppose I shall sound terribly defensive if I say that Westerners attempt to expose every speck of grime and eradicate it, while we Orientals carefully preserve and even idealize it. Yet for better or for worse we do love things that bear the marks of grime, soot, and weather, and we love the colors and the sheen that | call to mind the past that made them. Living in these old houses among these old objects is in some mysterious way a source of peace and repose.”
Designing for Beausage?
One of the things that continues to inspire and intrigue me is how the marks of previous uses communicate how to use something to a new audience.
In the non-electronic, non-disposable world of say, a rural Midwestern farm in the 1980s; the wear on …
Bei metacool bin ich über den Begriff Beausage gestolpert. Diego Rodriguez bezieht sich hier auf eine Worschöpfung von Grant Petersen, der damit die Ästhetik bezeichnet, die die Stufen eines Amphitheater durch die Abnutzung von tausenden von Füßen gewonne
links for 2005-06-01
Tandem outdoor lounger by designer Thomas Sauvage d’Ego I dig these deck chairs (scroll down). The designer’s website is a beautiful yet useless piece of crap. d’Ego, indeed. (tags: furniture home deck patio) Hacking the Museum Experience Underground …
“..Beausage describes changes that happen in 3D where atoms get torn and stripped away, as occurs with scratches, tears, chips, and wear marks. I used to say “patina” when what I really meant was “beausage”. It’s nice to have both.”
Beausage and patina don’t relate to 2nd or 3rd dimensions- they are both about the 4th dimension
What I learned by buying a violin
I recently purchased a violin. Because finding a violin can be a subjective process, the experience helped to surface a number of interesting ideas relating to the marketing and selling of really any type of product or service. Upon walking into a viol…
Farben Schwarz und Grau Neues Extra gro Ÿ geschnitten!!!! Das supercoole
Cheapest Utility Bill
If you cannot afford to pay for extra fees on my bill Do I need call-waiting, and i c
I’d love to see the same idea applied to the desktop OS or large website. Imagine being able to see where others have gone, or where you have commonly travelled on your search for files and folders and other information. I wrote a quick post on it here, and would love your feedback: