The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The Beauty In Everything

Illustration by Dylan Elliot

It has gradually become clear to me of the deficit of introspection within my own life.

Rare like the gold that lies on the beaches of California have I valued such things within my own space, as small and as miniscule as an empty plastic bottle.

Its unclouded, gauzy cylindrical structure is pretty unremarkable in features other than its ribbed form and red graphical label that includes the brand name and other elements. Yet, I smile as it sits there next to my desk, not even a swigful left in the bottle.

A younger man, lesser, with hazy simple thoughts merely traversing through the streets after another day of work.

Gusts of wind blew – pushing and pulling after a day of heavy rain. I stood there waiting for the light to turn so that I may cross the street when a familiar bright warmth came upon me.

The clouds parted, and the sun beamed. Like an angelic form guiding my eyes, I looked at where the light was pointing. It was a bench—silver and blue, wet from the rain. Tiny holes lined evenly all around, and a soft silver glow emanated from it. Missing my light, I stood there.


You see, I’ve come to realize that this plastic bottle is as utilitarian and unnoticeable as it may be and that this bench, as common and orthodox, was designed.

We don’t perceive that even with such a simple conclusion to draw from, the implications that conclusion has within our own lives. For something to be designed, it must have been envisioned.

Being as essential as hydration, or as common as public benches, there is a level of ornate planned experience in which we partake in.

There was a group of radical thinkers in the age of extremes of the 20th century. Artistic minds who sought to change the world as the world changed around them. In the age of extremes of the early 20th century, they sought to simplify.

The rise of the decorative and embellished clashed with the new techniques of the modern age. No longer were things hand-milled and pressed. Production lines and new giant machines billowed and plumed within the warehouses to assist with creating the cities in which we reside.

These radical thinkers saw these structures—giant, detailed, and highly ornamental buildings with minutely crafted furnishings within them—and recognized that the production could be streamlined even more.

That form and function can be simplified to its truest essence.

From that, The Bauhaus School of Design was created. Other styles followed, with the Swiss international style being the most notable.

Illustration by Dylan Elliott
Illustration by Dylan Elliot

Bauhaus focused on more geometric and simpler forms. Its artistic philosophy revolved around the function of design.

Vivid pops of red and daring usage of yellow. Bauhaus was not void of color but rather embraced it for what it is—allowing these shapes to command attention with their mathematical pointedness and acute fidelity. These designs serve a purpose.

Bauhaus, the progenitor, with function over form and Swiss international style, with its authentic pursuit of simplicity. These design doctrines do not exist within a vacuum but rather because of the movements before them.

Despite Bauhaus being 100 years removed, we still see its effects in design today.

Minimalism is not a dreary, lazy form of the absolute bare minimum. It’s the radical cultivation of a concept given to us pushed to its absolute limits.

These minimal, minute forms that scarcely occupy the forefront of our mind – these objects I learn to celebrate and adore.

The paperclip.

Its silver metallic shape sits in a cup full of its brothers and sisters. Its function is simple: clip paper, and to this, I cheer.

Illustration by Dylan Elliott
Illustration by Dylan Elliot

Adjacent to that, sitting on a cluttered shelf, is a square green plastic cube. Its utility is unknown, as a worn sticker attached to it suggests it was part of something long forgotten.

Each step on the timeline of human ingenuity and invention gives way to greater strides and bounds. This phenomenon is bound to humanity even on a micro-scale. As within our own lives, are we tied to the existence of others?

It is here that I realize the comfort of the world I exist in. No longer do the steel and glass skyscrapers that suffocate my surroundings choke me out. I see the progress of ingenuity and invention.

This disposition is where one judges the world for what it has achieved. For the amazing accomplishments that envelop our every moment. Where there is charm in the mundane, allure in the banal.

Where there is Beauty. In everything.

More to Discover