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I believe

There is a fundamental necessity to moments and spaces of “nothing”

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In nature,

growth and survival require gaps and pauses

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In life,

periods of respite help us to think, reflect, and appreciate

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In design,

white or negative space allows for balance and clarity

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So, I set out to ask:


How can design reframe the human-nature relationship

to one of appreciation, respect and care?



How does "nothing" function as a tool for

perception, presence, and perspective?



In what ways can pausing (to notice) impact the

human-nature relationship?


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In other words:

          There is nothing profound about going to nature for contemplation. Perhaps, however, there is something profound about using nothing to contemplate nature. Nothing, in this sense, refers to an absence of something: an interval, break, gap, space, or, specifically in the case of this thesis, a pause. By exploring the moments, spaces, and value in life’s fundamental need for pause, and the ability to reorient our attention towards noticing the mundanity of everyday nature, I am interested in understanding how design can interrogate and alter our framing of the human-nature relationship.


          This is not a thesis about nothing. Rather, it’s a thesis that aims to use nothing as a tool to:

  • cultivate a habit of awareness to reframe the human-nature relationship from one of exploitation, to one of appreciation, sensitivity, and care;

  • question and disrupt our consumption- focused culture’s entrenched rhetoric of growth, control, and productivity; and

  • look to nonhuman perspectives and observe nature for insight.


Through personal reflection and heuristic inquiry, analyzing historical and environmental data, and creating thoughtful design responses, I hope to develop a theoretical framework for how design can inform a sustainable future and a design methodology that could operate in a sensitive, respectful space outside of our current, known culture of consumption and exploitation.

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