Vol. 9: In Excess

Excess is one of the most significant ethical questions we confront as designers, as our practice is inextricably linked to material, economic, and social resources. In this context, excess can mean many things: it can mean plenty, but it can also mean too much; it can mean profit, but also waste, and the difference is largely a matter of perspective. So how do we decide what is enough? Is enough the same for everyone? How do we measure, much less decide, what is — in quantity or quality — excessive? And how then, as designers, do we operate in response?

There are, of course, many answers to these questions. In this edition of lunch, designers, planners, and historians offer their perspectives on how this question manifests itself in various aspects of our built environment. As you peruse the pages of lunch 9, we hope you will join this conversation, and consider your own perspective. For while there may be no consensus here on whether excess is good or bad, in the end it is always an opportunity.

Sarah E. Brummett
Sarah Beth McKay
Tammy Teng