• Bruce Mau 
  • Jun 20, 2007

This I believe:

Design is the Art of Science.

Design Is the Art of Science. This I Believe, CBC Radio, June 20, 2007

“I believe in science and art,
and the practice of design that brings them together to change the world.

I have three wildly inventive young daughters
and they have opened my eyes to my belief in
the mystery and power of creative invention.
They remind me on a daily basis of my belief in the scientific method
of questioning our experience; and my belief in the vast unknown.
My work as a designer demands the
intersection of these two great cultures of our time: science and the arts.
In our society they mostly live separate lives,
developing and sustaining separate worldviews, distinct methods,
and segregated communities of thought and practice.
The more I work as a designer—
a practice that demands the constant negotiation of
the boundaries and intersections of these two worlds—
the more deeply committed I am to the foundation of science.
The historical scientific project to build a common language
of human knowledge, where any scientist, anyone, working anywhere
can challenge and revise and add to our shared resource,
is perhaps the greatest human achievement of all time.
It is a practice that is beyond race or nationality or religion.
It is supremely egalitarian and ultimately global and collective.
It is a shared human resource,
equally accessible from anywhere, by anyone.
It is on this human foundation of knowledge that we solve
the challenges we face as a global society.
It is science that has opened up the electromagnetic spectrum
so that we can explore the universe in all of its complexity.
It is science that has allowed us the wonders of communication
so that you can hear my voice today, wherever you are.
It is science that has built the tools that have overcome diseases
like smallpox, and SARS, and soon polio and others.
It is science that has built the pathway out of the dark night of ignorance,
the limitations of mythology, superstition, and religion;
allowing us to replace imaginary stories with hard-won empirical knowledge.

But my commitment to scientific knowledge in no way diminishes
my belief in the beauty, mystery, and power of art.
Art sings to us and opens our hearts to one another.
Art gives meaning to things that would otherwise go unnoticed.
Art connects us to our past.
Art cracks a smile and laughs at our limitations.
Art speaks to us of the darkness we cannot say out loud.
It is art that proves our worth;
that demonstrates our energy and force as inventors and lovers
and wild untamed beings.
And in the end it is art that allows us
to understand and express science.

In my practice of design, these two worlds—
of aesthetics and scientific knowledge,
of mystery and certainty, of intuition and expertise—
come together to create new possibilities for shaping our world.
Everything I do as a designer draws on the aesthetic dimension of cultural life,
but rests on the foundation of the scientific project.
At no time in human history has the potential for design to contribute to
the benefit of humankind been greater than it is today.
And, because of the growing body of knowledge in both science and art,
that potential will be even greater tomorrow.

When I watch my three young daughters
draw and sing, write and dance with abandon,
I am confirmed in my belief in our power as creative beings.
My challenge as a parent, and our collective challenge,
is to nurture, protect, and allow that creative force to
flourish as my daughters grow,
and be there as it emerges to shower us with its unimaginable gifts.

For This I Believe, I am Bruce Mau, in Toronto.”