A professional resource for the design curious

Get the latest design news direct to your inbox!

Bruce Mau on Massive Change

24 hours to achieve massive change? According to design guru Bruce Mau, it’s entirely possible.

Bruce Mau on Massive Change


November 11th, 2011

Design powerhouse Bruce Mau is coming to Australia, presenting the 3rd annual Nielson Design Lecture at the State Library of Queensland on 23 November and leading a seminar entitled 24 Hours to Massive Change from 24-26 November.

Mau’s long design career has been one of thought-sharing and collaboration. Through his studio Bruce Mau Design he has worked with some of the world’s biggest brands and the design world’s biggest brains.

“Design is really a methodology of leadership,” Mau says. “It’s a way of envisioning the future and systematically working collaboratively to realise that future.”

As co-founder of Massive Change Network, he has travelled the globe sharing his fundamentals for design thinking and his 24 key ideas to implement in the modern world.

One of the most important of these ideas – especially for South East Queensland, which is experiencing a time of rebuilding and reimagining – is that “we are not separate from or above nature,” Mau says.

“If you look at the Western tradition, we have a tradition that nature was given to us and we have dominion over it. It engenders a way of thinking that is often quite problematic.

“You know, there’s 4 times as much bio mass in ant colonies as there is in human species, and 99% of all species are extinct, so the idea that we could go extinct is not that big an idea. So if you start to think about the welfare of all of life as a practical objective, well then you’ll want to think about your cities in a very different way. You’re not going to see your city as separate from nature.”

Even since the publishing in 1962 of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring – the book widely touted as spawning the environmental movement – “we haven’t been successful in the least in reducing our impact,” Mau says. “I mean, we are 9 or 10 times more consumptive than we were in 1962. And I think this is where perhaps creative opportunity for design comes in.

“I don’t believe we will succeed in going backwards. I don’t think we’re going to retrofit. We won’t go back to some kind of idyllic time – that didn’t exist by the way, we were never in touch with nature. The only hope we have is to design forward. If we can make the things that we love using less of what we need, then we have a chance.

“We’re not going to do this by telling people to get out of their car, because we tried that for 50 years. The way we’re going to do it is to design smarter ideas, better ways of doing things that are sexier, cooler, and more exciting than the old ways.”

The idea of designing for the future, and going head to head against the challenges that face designers and society as a whole, inspires Mau – a man who speaks with boundless energy and enthusiasm.

“Once you start to see it this way you realise this is the most amazing time in human history to be alive, by a radical long shot!” he says.

Bruce Mau presents the annual Nielson Design Lecture at the State Library of Queensland on Wednesday 23 November 7pm. More information can be found here.

Bruce Mau’s 24 Hours to Massive Change Global Design Workshop takes place at the State Library of Queensland from 24-26 November. More info at Massive Change Network.

INDESIGN is on instagram

Follow @indesignlive

The Indesign Collection

A searchable and comprehensive guide for specifying leading products and their suppliers

Indesign Our Partners

Keep up to date with the latest and greatest from our industry BFF's!

Related Stories

While you were sleeping

The internet never sleeps! Here's the stuff you might have missed