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The Bad Idea

“I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.”  - Thomas Edison

Tasked with designing a night to inspire friends and community, it was easy to become overwhelmed.  So that feeling, that window into the creative world where anxiety and doubt have to be overcome and bad ideas have to be waited out or crafted and refined into better ones became the central theme for the project.  Inspired by the tenacity and words of Thomas Edison, the evening became about understanding how bad ideas aren’t failures, but an essential part of the creative process.

In preparing for this multi-sensory experience, thousands of archived drawings were salvaged, crumpled, and twisted to become the tangible tale that a failure, or bad idea, is not the end of a process, but can be the beginning of something extraordinary.

Visitors were greeted and given a recycled piece of paper with instructions to crumple it up and leave it wherever they like.  They were then turned loose into a multimedia experience with two rooms acting as analogues to the design process.  One room full of expectation, the other inspiration.  The first room, tense and sparse, begins with a bare bulb spot lighting a waste basket, a single wadded bad idea that lies just outside the basket defying its creator and even the notion of being properly discarded.  The sound of paper being crumpled in irritation, plays out of sync with a video of frustrated draftsmen doubting and re-valuating ideas before crushing them and tossing them aside… at the end of the first room lies a mound of what appears to be a severe dry spell eclipsing a waste basket.  A large mass of rejected ideas slightly smaller than human scale becomes an underwhelming payoff for visitors not realizing there is a second room.  Turning into the next room, 180 degrees from the frumpy mass, the visitors are confronted by a waste basket erupting into a 4,000 square foot whirlwind of bad ideas forming a canopy that covers and envelops them and the historic warehouse interior. The gesture of the canopy then guides them back around to where they began.  A nod to the cyclical nature of creativity and the back and forth between inspiration and criticism, doubt and determinism.  Once disassembled, all of the reclaimed paper will be recycled to become tomorrow’s bad ideas, and hopefully inspiration.

See the Video.



Honoree Award, Interior Design Magazine

Nominee, German Design Awards 2018

Winner, Muse Design Awards 2019

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