Prompt: "You are tasked with making the world most beautiful. Where do you start?"
My first reaction is that I start with furniture. I believe that our perception of quality and beauty, which I don’t think are separable, are largely shaped by the environment that surrounds us. I’d love to say architecture, the thing that defines our environments, but good architecture is inaccessible to the majority people. But if we can shape the furniture, the objects that occupy that space to be more beautiful and of higher quality then we can inculcate a higher sense of beauty into society.
As for what I would do with that furniture... I would drive it aesthetically towards the Japanese traditional and the Scandinavian contemporary. Why these two? Because they both espouse simplicity of form and honesty in materials. Both of which are things that are generally lacking in the modern sense of aesthetic beauty.
How much more satisfied with ourselves could we be if we acknowledged that imperfections in the surface of a piece of wood furniture were in fact marks of beauty, that the wear of use represented the love placed on an object. That a work bench and a table with dings in it represent the highest form of praise for design?
Of course this all falls apart if experiencing Japanese wabi-sabi, the aesthetic of use and decay, in our surroundings does not instill an acceptance of wabi-sabi as beauty in ourselves and other people. If we could accept that honesty as a source of beauty in our furniture was truth, perhaps we could accept that honesty in our person and in the person of others was beauty.
That last part would dramatically shift the world, as we accepted that maybe beauty is something we innately posses, something that needs little augmentation, and that the process of becoming over time is true beauty indeed.