Modern Man Inspiration Destination #01: The Plumbing Section at Home Depot.
I’ve decided to start a series within my blog entries that I get asked about often. “Where do you go for inspiration?” This is a great question (one we don’t always think about when we are answering)! I’ve decided to make a conscious effort to register these many go-to locations in a way that may be useful, starting with Home Depot.
The plumbing section of Home Depot is sacred ground for me. I go there when I need to purge my mind of all of the clutter that stands between me and my would be design solution. As a designer I get a particular thrill from the tactile experience of handling threaded fittings and PVC adapters. It feels a bit like LEGO for adults. I’m sure that it would be generally frowned upon to build a copper/brass/PVC dragon in the middle of the isle, but that doesn’t stop me from building that creature in my head. Now granted it may not always be a dragon it may be a (insert meaningful and personally applicable whimsical creature here), but the result is always the same: Imagination ON. In this digital world of 1s and 0s, walking into Home Depot’s Magical World of Plumbing (a theme park I pray for every single night as I tuck myself in) sets my imagination to 1 and my mental clutter to 0. I like to give myself plenty of playtime before I circle back around to my design that brought me to Neverland to begin with. Handle the fittings, connect a few things, discover unlikely pairings and let go of the world outside. With a newly cleared headspace and plenty of creative momentum I am able to circle back around and start connecting the dots and filling in the spaces that were lacking the substance and sinews of an inspired and effective design. This is not to say that all of my designs look like plumbing fittings (frankly none of them do), but it effectively illustrates the need for appropriate mental stimulation. The kind of mental stimulation that a computer or a television is unable to provide. Give your brain the exercise it needs by going somewhere and doing something that allows you to imagine the world in a different way. Most important consideration: don’t forget your sketch book because a 2′ x2′ plywood panel makes for expensive paper.