Powers of Ten: Sunday, 10.10.10

by Maggie Flickinger

The auspicious date of 10.10.10 is rapidly approaching!  At Barrett Studio, Charles & Raye Eames’ seminal Powers of Ten film holds a dear place.  We’ve often referred to the film and shared our Powers of Ten flipbook with potential clients and fellow design conspirators.  This only makes sense, as the Eames’ philosophy of “seeing the big things in the little things and the little things in the big things” is a pillar of our practice.  Rather than compartmentalizing and working in a narrow area of focus, this practice of “design thinking” encourages systemic and symbiotic solutions, often arrived at through a collaborative process integrating multiple disciplines.

While this provides a platform for our studio’s organization, it also inspires us at a project level.  Spending time on a site, we gain influence from patterns of light on rock outcroppings or the way wind sings through grasses.  This connects us to a smaller natural scale, the larger ecosystem within which it lives, and the elements by which it is influenced – and more importantly, reminds us that all of these scales are inextricably interwoven.  As we select finishes and materials for a project, seeking reliable source and lifecycle information brings the “final product” back into connection with the planetary processes of which it takes advantage.  And when we inhabit a space designed with an acknowledgment of these interconnections, there are moments when the smallest microcosm of our inner beings is transported to the wonder of our macrocosm.

Powers of Ten Sunday 10 10 10

All of this influenced our participation in the Boulder 350.org Global Workparty, a day of climate action on October 10th, 2010.  We wanted to inspire a holistic perspective and discuss opportunities for change across scales.  After a few brainstorming sessions, we settled on titling our workshop “Powers of Ten: Action in Architecture from Small to Large.”  We’ll begin by screening Powers of Ten, then shift into the scale of Nature, discussing Listening to the Land.  From there, we scale down to Neighborhoods, discussing Creating a Community with Values.  Next is Home: Passive Home, Active Owner.  Finally we’ll discover Food, and the potentials inherent in Urban Agritecture.

If you happen to be in Boulder on Sunday, 10.10.10 please join us for this perspective shifting workshop.  If you’re not, chances are you can still participate in the magic of 10.10.10!  350.org has thousands of events happening all over the world, and the Eames Foundation is using Google Earth to map Powers of Ten events across the globe.

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