• Berta Ramos Guerra
  • , Jan 2020
  • - FANFAN

Bruce Mau, optimism and the eternal need for change

Bruce Mau – designer and educator – believes that the power of design can transform the world. His creative design methods and systematic thinking can be applied to all walks of society, from global brands and small businesses to individuals. Developed over the past three decades, Bruce Mau: MC24 is the long-awaited book on the 24 principles of Massive Change that form the epicenter of Mau’s transformative philosophy.

Bruce Mau believes that success is in change. Furthermore, he believes that change should preside over our way of acting: “Practically everything we do today must change. We still do most of the things as if we were the owners of nature and we had unlimited resources. We work as if waste is not a problem. We treat nature like a pantry and a toilet. We think in the short term, we party like there is no tomorrow and we pass the bill on to future generations. We throw problems that we cannot solve to places that we cannot see. And many of our solutions cause more problems than they fix. Things have to change. Now”.

Bruce Mau, a realistic optimism

Mau Mc 24
Mau Mc 24

MC24 includes essays, observations, project documentation, case studies, and designs by Mau and the other architects, designers, artists, scientists, thinkers, ecologists, and individuals who are influencing today’s culture . Divided into 24 chapters organized according to the 24 principles that make up its philosophy, it is a practical, fun and critical tool that will allow readers to make an impact and generate change at all levels.

The title of each section of this new book is represented by a “sheet” that corresponds to one of the 24 Mau philosophies, presenting and addressing different ways of solving problems in personal, work or community life. Some examples include Start with realistic optimism, Design your own economy, Compete with beauty, Sketch: Hey, let’s all fail! and Work on what you are passionate about, to name just a few. Each chapter includes practical studies that invite reflection and demonstrate various solutions and strategies in a real context. At all times, Mau asks simple questions that encourage readers to think innovatively when faced with a problem.

The worse the better

For example, Think as if you were lost in a forest is about business design. Mau says that if we always work in an environment that is familiar to us and we feel comfortable with what we do, we will stifle our creativity. If we think as if we are lost in a forest, we will be forced to find a solution by creating a new path to return home . When failure is not an option, creative opportunism is the only way out. Being lost in the woods is a design mindset where everything is perceived, everything is possible and everything is at stake.

In Always looking for the worst, Mau explains that designers see the world upside down: the good is bad, the bad is good and the terrible is incredible. Whenever things don’t work as well as they could or wherever we find waste, poor quality, or poor performance, there is an opportunity for design. So the worse things are, the happier designers feel. A good situation is not interesting, but a terrible situation is inspiring; The bigger the problem, the worse the crisis and the harder the experience, the greater the opportunity for design.

A renaissance mind

New demonic problems demand new demonic teams is a tribute to what Mau calls the “Renaissance Team ,  a diverse group of individuals with different abilities working together toward a common goal. Mau’s seven “rules” for being a Renaissance Team player correspond to seven personality traits that top designers possess and on which they constantly work: experience, curiosity, empathy, trust, humility, independence, and courage. Climate change or the current pandemic are emblematic examples of a “demonic problem”. They do not have a single solution and causality is not a simple algorithm; The challenge of solving those problems requires long-term, cooperative and diversified design processes.

Mau Mc 24
Some of the principles of Mau

Generously illustrated with over 500 images, this remarkable book is an essential read for anyone interested in making a positive impact in their lives and changing things regarding contemporary issues affecting the world at large. With a striking design in saturated colors, Bruce Mau: MC24 offers a joyous and optimistic perspective to influence and generate massive change across the board.

About the Author

Bruce Mau is a brilliantly creative optimist whose love of rugged problems led him to create a methodology for a system-wide transformation . Throughout 30 years of innovation in the field of design, he has collaborated with leading organizations, heads of state, renowned artists and other optimists. Entrepreneur since he was 9 years old, he became an international figure with the publication of S, M, L, XL, designed and created with Rem Koolhaas. He is the co-founder and CEO of the Massive Change Network, a Chicago-based holistic design collective . He is also design director forFreeman, the pioneers of the live brand experience. His fondness for connecting the world brings out the best in a project and the people and also finds an echo in the life he shares with his wife, Bisi Williams, and their three daughters in Evanston, Illinois.

He has been a visiting professor at institutions around the world, including the Getty Research Institute of California and the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing , has held the Cullinan Chair at Rice University, and was named Distinguished Fellow of Northwest University . Mau was awarded the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum Mind Design Award, the AIGA Gold Medal and six honorary titles. He was appointed Royal Honorary Designer of Industry by RSA, London s. He travels all over the world offering talks and reflecting on architecture, art, cinema, conceptual philosophy and “work as a beautiful experiment”. As always, his designs challenge us to imagine a more just and sustainable world.