AT on Silent Retreats

AT on Silent Retreats

Maxwell Ryan
Jan 10, 2006

After ten days of sitting silently for up to ten hours a day at our New Year's retreat up in Shelburne Falls, MA, we are glad to be back in our apartment, BUT we do feel different. We feel calmer, more tranquil and clearer about what is important and what is not. A retreat like this really does declutter and detangle all the mental knots you build up over the course of a year.

And as far as design goes, it is a real advantage to be able to concentrate for longer periods of time and see the potential in things that you had not seen before.

For example, take these designs, which we fell in love with by the end of the retreat. These are our latest inspirations, and if we had the $$, means and time right now, these are products we would make.

The (now) Ubiquitous Injection Molded Plastic Armchair
No matter how ugly I wanted this chair to be, by the end of the ten days, I came to accept this design (of which there are many variations) as a classic. The curves are elegant. The simplicity of the all-one construction is extremely efficient. And it is super-light and comfortable. The problem is the low quality of the plastic. We propose refining the details just a touch and producing these in brushed or shiny aluminum that really shows off their form. Corelle Dinnerware by Corning
This transluscent, unchippable, tough, smooth white dinnerware is another classic. The bowl is especially nice, and we could not imagine anything purer and more practical. This design has no silly detail work or decoration. Holding the bowl in your hands filled with hot tea is a living joy. Walco Food Service Flatware
Made in Taiwan by this enormous company, everyone has used this flatware in countless cafeterias, diners and restaurants. It is not nice to hold or touch on the mouth, but the shapes are absolutely refined through practicality to the point of beauty. We propose using these shapes, softening the edges and casting these in silver or a fine steel blend.
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