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“Living (in a domestic environment) is essentially conservative.”

Let’s start at the beginning: The German word for “living” (in the sense of the domestic environment in which one lives) is Wohnen. It has evolved from the Middle High German Wonne (bliss). Which sounds and appears very nice, because in and of itself one would like to live in the midst of bliss.

But where does that still exist today? Most people have completely forgotten that “living” is an action, namely a verb, an activity word. Which is very plausible, because you constantly have to redesign your own life, even within those four walls. However, when people describe their domestic living environment, it sounds more like a description of a state of affairs. And in fact, the majority live that way, passively.

But we would like to concede that this may also have something to do with gentrification and for many people this means smaller and/or more expensive housing.

Now Gert Selle, who was one of the most important rapporteurs and theorists of the design scene a few years back, came up with the term “conservative” in the context of the domestic environment. Which inevitably means that we also have to get to grips with

this term. Sure, conservative sounds rather petit bourgeois, means political inflexibility and boredom and is rather tedious. But one can consider it differently, because conservation describes something like storing and protecting. In the context of the home, this could mean that domestic living preserves and protects from external influences, thus securing a certain individual existence.

Admittedly, this too sounds somewhat questionable – especially nowadays, when everything private has long since become public. What is important, then, is precisely the connection between living and behaving.


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