Donovan Campbell, reflecting on making our work great:
When the gargoyles at the Nimes cathedral were removed for renovation, church authorities discovered something surprising: the backs of the statues, which no one would ever see, were as intricately carved as their fronts. The same was true of the gargoyles at the top of the building, high and hidden from view. The intricacy of the pieces was particularly strange because gargoyles at the time were not primarily ornamental. They were functional. Their main purpose was to funnel rainwater away from the stone so the running water would not degrade the mortar holding the masonry together. Why would someone go to all of the trouble to carve something no one would ever see, much less need ornamental decoration to serve its purpose?
The answer is straightforward but difficult for our modern culture to understand.
Often times, it comes to a higher purpose, whatever that purpose might be. We aren’t doing what we do to make a quick buck or to save a dollar, it’s to make great work. Steve Jobs reflected in his biography on how great cabinet makers made the back just as beautiful as the front.
Our culture today is focused on disposable rather than long lasting. My hope is that designers are slowly changing that culture.