Kirsten Dirksen and the gang over at faircompanies have released a handful of intriguingly eclectic videos over the past month or so: a chat with the designer behind a a magnificent, 70-foot vertical garden — a fine work of vegitecture, to be sure — in Barcelona; a tour of a beautiful, daylight-strewn urban retreat, also in Barcelona, that boasts plenty of natural “flow;” a visit to an organic apple farm in Napa Valley. Yet I keep on going back to a video featuring a guy wearing a baseball cap doing pull-ups in a nearly empty one-bedroom condo in Santa Clara, California.
The tour — it can be viewed as eerie or inspiring, depending on how you feel about rather drastic possession editing — is of the home of Singapore-born Peter Lawrence, a Silicon Valley expat who was able to retire at the ripe old age of 40 (lucky guy) after working as a manager at HP. In his condo, you’ll find a sleeping bag in lieu of a bed, a lawn chair in lieu of a couch, a pot, a pan, a fork, a spoon, a computer, a projector, a guitar, a "go bag," and not much else.
You see, Lawrence is a self-described minimalist (understatement of the year, right there) and chooses to live in a manner that makes Graham Hill’s less stuff-centric Life Edited project look like an episode of “Hoarders.” Seriously, when it comes to paring down in pursuit of the "simple life," this guy means business. He even penned a self-published book about the topic called “The Happy Minimalist.”
As a collector, a lover of product design, a decorator, and someone who finds comfort in being surrounded by possessions, these kind of living situations drive me nuts. They make me anxious; all I see is a blank canvas just waiting to be filled with stuff so that it can be considered as what I interpret to be a “home.” I want to send this guy a couple of nice throw pillows and a few items to fill up that barren medicine cabinet at the very least. Maybe a wall tapestry, too. And a mattress.
Video screenshot: faircompanies/YouTube