Column: On permanence

“Some things are based on universal, immutable facts,” says Design Stories columnist Hanna-Katariina Mononen, justifying the resistance to change she has discovered within herself.

An image of a clock radio on a shelf
Hanna-Katariina Mononen enjoys stability and hopes that she can continue to wake up to a clock radio in the future.

I THINK IT’S nice that some things are unchanging, and I would like to see them stay that way. That I can prove that old, well-functioning architecture can be preserved and restored in a respectful, professional way. That not every company’s logo needs to be re-styled every ten years, or its concept renewed, even if the previous one has not yet proven itself. That I can buy the same bar soap for my sink from now until the end of my life – familiar and ordinary, unchanging in shape and other characteristics. That I can wake up to a clock radio.

I don’t want to diagnose my resistance to change as contrariness or a general sour disposition or anything else like that, although I suppose it is all of those things. I do enjoy many new things, but I often wish that the good old things would not be modernized in a flurry of renewal, and for no good reason. It has probably been a human vice throughout the ages that what’s old is always thought to be bad, and what’s new is always good. I think of all the buildings that represented the pinnacle of architecture of the past decades, which have since been demolished having been condemned as old-fashioned, or at least out of stinginess when it came to maintaining them.

I love concept-free, human-sized stops and travel destinations that aren’t really destinations at all.

MANY THINGS do of course change for good reason when we learn something new, but some things are based on universal, immutable facts. Those things, in turn, are often based on evergreen values such as balance, unhurriedness, room to grow and sustainability. It’s true: some things just were better in the old days.

I also think about these ideas when I’m planning my trips for the summer, among other times. I love concept-free, human-sized stops and travel destinations that aren’t really destinations at all. Those where the number of companies is non-existent and time has somehow frozen still long ago. A ten-cent coin or two are placed on the hotplate of the gasoline station coffee machine, and the coffee is poured into a white Arabia Kesti cup. A second cup is always free, and the doughnuts are always magically good, of course. It’s all wonderfully uncomplicated and unpretentious: no one has yet figured out that all this should be made into a story accessible behind a link in a QR code.

In the end, the actual setting takes a back seat to the human interactions, the spoken exchanges and the flow of life. Of course there is a place for bespoke concepts, and I appreciate the effort involved, but I have come to realize that they are not necessarily for me. The experiences that come to mind most strongly and gently are those that have a sense of permanence to them.

To Go Click thermo cup, 0,4 L, soft sand
The To Go Click thermo cup by Stelton carries hot and cold drinks with you in a smart and ecological way.

My recommendation: Cool summer

THIS IS A REMINDER to myself and all like-minded people: the thermos is also for summer. I constantly forget that some laws of physics are on our side during this season as well. The best party trick for a picnic is to bring a refreshing drink that stays cool in a thermos flask or mug.

All thermos jugs >

Hanna-Katariina Mononen

The author, Hanna-Katariina Mononen, reflects on the issues of a beautiful and sustainable life in her monthly column for Design Stories. She thinks that just like in life, in the home, the most beautiful parts are unplanned – and often relatively ordinary as well.

Text and image: Hanna-Katariina Mononen

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