Design Manifesto for Jerusalem

Per Guillem Ferrer

One day, sitting under a carob tree with Masanobu Fukuoka, a wise Japanese farmer,he took his stick and drew a square in the earth.  He said: in this square metre of earth there are millions of living things, from which come thousands of millions of combinations …. we  know nothing.

I believe we have come into this world to learn and to help …..and that we do not need more knowledge to find out whether we need more information, or faster computers or more scientific analysis or intellectuals to help save the world I believe that what humanity most needs at the moment is wisdom.
But just what is wisdom?  Where can we find it ? The maestros say that wisdom comes when one is capable of being still ­ just looking, just listening.
All we need is to be still, to look and actively listen to the real intelligence that exists deep inside us ­ that is when true beauty and true creativity,
the real you can be expressed. Let us allow this stillness to direct our words and our actions.

Nearly three years ago, I gave up work and design and decided of my own volition to retire: I didn’t want to live without knowing who I am.
Everyone is a spiritual person but we don’t always know who we are. For me, spirituality means knowing yourself. Since then, I have spent most of my time living between the forest and vegetable garden doing what I call inside travelling, the best kind of travelling you can do in your life …..
you don’t need aeroplanes, money or suitcases, nor even to leave your own home …….Trying to be nobody, going nowhere, knowing nothing …

Now I am here to share my personal experience of life with you. When I am with people, I¹m a part-time farmer and a full-time social activist.
I live up in the mountains in a house that functions with the Sun, built using bioconstruction, recycling all the black and grey waste water ….I make my own bread every day, I drink water collected from the rain, I produce my own oil and honey and most of the food that I cook and eat
comes from my organic vegetable garden….. it¹s a pilgrimage towards self-sufficiency. I have learnt from Gandhi:  be the change you want to see in the world.


I have a dream …..let’s make a place where we would like to come back as children in our next life

I sincerely believe that industrial design today, industrial civilization, does not have a future. Our lack of awareness has upset the balance that sustains life.
It¹s a civilization whose vision is arrogant and anthropocentric, who believes man to be at the centre of everything,taking more than it needs, generating human exploitation and toxic waste,  valuing what one has more than what one is; it has created the disposable culture of use and throw away, neglecting Nature which it believes to be empty and lifeless.
Design without any code of ethics, morals or spiritual values, obsessed with comfort where its religion has become materialism, a prisoner of the industry and the large corporations who encourage excessive consumption and hail everything high tech.
Design today is full of fear and negativit y. I feel the result is violence.
Design needs peace

We can be the change we wish to see in the world.
Your design can be your message.

If you ask me,  is it possible to  design a better world?
My answer is: YES !!

Another world is not only possible …. it¹s on its way. On a quiet day, I can hear it breathing.

A few weeks ago when I was walking along the beach, contemplating the waves I was inspired to write a design manifesto for Jerusalem …..
(A manifesto is when someone wishes to make public their principles).


It’s for teachers, designers, craftsmen …..and everyone who designs life ….

This manifesto is about trees, about seeds of freedom, about beauty, about pacific design, about things made by hand, about eco-literacy, about revolution, about spirituality, about craftsmen,  about a better world,  about YES……..


Think positive, feel positive, act positive.
What you think, what you feel and what you attract is all part of the same.
We create our own reality.


we can design as nature designs and we can do so with humility, reverence and restraint.
Biomimicry is clever design from nature. It is innovation inspired by nature, looking at nature as a teacher …..
Seeing nature as a model, measure and mentor changes the very way we view and value the natural world.
Instead of seeing nature as a warehouse, we begin to see her as a teacher instead of valuing what we can extract from her,
we value what we can learn from her.
Nature is full of answers …. we are surrounded by genius …..We only have to look and learn.


Matter and spirit are two sides of the same coin ­ what we measure is matter, what we feel is spirit.  Without spirit, matter has no life.
Materialism and consumerism dictate our lives, we have abandoned the spirit
Design today lacks any kind of inner feeling. It needs a spiritual dimension.
“Spiritual Imperative” as quoted by Satish Kumar teaches us that elegant simplicity is one of the best ways to discover spirituality. We need schools and teachers who can activate the inner life of designers, by introducing ecological and spiritual values as the basis of education.
Meditation can help us connect with the centre of our being -It is from here that true creativity and beauty arise.


It’s a revolution for peace.
Let’s bring peace to today’s design. Global warming which is causing severe climate change is the most serious situation we face today.
A new design system which creates ideas in a sustainable way, looking after the earth¹s resources, treating the planet as one big home and respecting all those species who inhabit it, according to the principles of ecology, sustainability and community. Through non-violent design comes the spirit for respecting all life forms, human life, animal life, plant life, stones¹ life, the ground, water.All nature, all species including human beings are sacred. And all are inter-connected.Today it’s become a moral imperative that all of them be respected, honoured, revered.
All living things are the product of the sacred system.Nothing is separate, nothing is other.
It is this relation between all living systems that is holy, divine, sacred.
The end result is peace at all levels: personal peace, world peace and peace in nature.


At a personal and family level ….and most of all for the community. Self-sufficiency creates trust, lends security, raises self-confidence and gives freedom.
This is a movement for simple living. Designing and producing what we need.  To know when enough is enough.
Originally, poverty meant the voluntary acceptance of a simple basic life and the rejection of unnecessary possessions.
Small is beautiful. Design at a human scale,small schools teaching arts and crafts, small groups of craftsmen in their workshops. Local design, protecting the local cultural identity. Appropriate technology, one that is inexpensive, local, easy to repair.
We need solar technology ….. human technology ….before high technology


Be a social activist.  Solidarity in Design.
Design can and must become a way in which everybody can take part in changing society.
Designing with poor people … poverty is the mother of innovation by designing for them, you will learn and they will learn from you helping in social movements…Participating in solidarity projects…
True radical democracy comes about when people take matters into their own hands and do something themselves rather than waiting for others to do it. If we act, we can change things.


Joining together the culture of craftsmanship with earth¹s ecology.
Quality products made using sustainable methods which are healthy for people and clean for the planet.
Making things by hand is the culture of creativity, spirituality and innocence.
It is the culture of non-violence and the true economy of peace.
Designers can work with and support the small communities of craftsmen and they can connect directly with people in a process of collaboration and helping one another.


To look for the meaning of life. For seeing from up above … like if you would be looking to the world from the sky. Let’ s find a way that is global, holistic, uniting economy, ecology, spirituality and science.
This design seeks to incite a change of consciousness, a better way of life, that is more harmonious, more peaceful, with more friends, closer to Nature, doing things well and slowly.
The words ecology and economy share the same Greek root “ecos”meaning house or home.
Economy refers to the running of the house and ecology means knowledge of the house.If we do not know our house, how are we going to run it?
Economy is part of ecology and ethics are part of ecology because the “ethos” of a house is like saying what the culture or spirit of the house is.
Economy, ecology and ethics are parts of the same whole.
Designing is not only an economic act, it is also an ecological, social and cultural act.  We can create a balanced system in which learning by making is as essential as educating the mind.
How our hearts develop should be valued as much as the development of our minds.
Connecting the whole life process.  Follow the whole process from seed, to cotton, to thread, to fabric and finally a garment.
Through creative and sustainable work.  When we undertake all these activities as sacred acts, we are nourishing society.


Learn from Satish Kumar,

through his books,the international forum Resurgence  and the Shumacher College…….when craftsmen or women make things by hand,they unselfconsciously combine heart, head and hands.
As a result, whatever they make is beautiful, useful and durable ( the BUD principle ).
Tribal people in many parts of the world, traditional craftspeople, the illiterate peasants of the past and present, make artifacts, built houses, erect stone walls in their fields, and this are items of the exquisite beauty.
They make this things for practical purposes or for aesthetic purposes or for ritual.
And these objects are durable; they last until their natural end.
The older they become, the more attractive they look.
They are always repairable. Making and mending are part of the same continuum.
The BUD principle is the source of true satisfaction, spiritual, sensual and physical…..


Learn from Fritjof Capra.

Eco-literacy. Ecology is the study of how the Earth Household works.
More precisely, it’s the study of the relationships that interlink all members of the Earth Household.
So we can learn and must learn how to live sustainably.
Over more than three billion years of evolution, ecosystems have organized themselves so as to maximize sustainability. The wisdom of nature is the essence of eco-literacy.
Eco-alphabet ­ a true and unique alphabet to educate designers through the ecological vegetable garden.
Every designer should be a part-time farmer


Learn from  Vandana Shiva and Carlo Petrini.  

Navdanya and Slow Food movements ……real farmers can teach you about  biodiversity,about food, about common sense, about nature … doesn¹t come from the supermarkets, it comes from the earth, from the farmers …..and you can help them,  you can design for them …..


Learn from William McDonough & Michael Braungart.

Cradle to Cradle,a visionary book….. learning to remake the way we  make things, putting eco-effectiveness into practice…..Consider this: all the ants on the planet, if taken together,have a biomass  greater than that of humans. Ants have been incredibly industrious for millions of years.Yet their productiveness nourishes plants, animals and soil.Human industry has been in full swing for little over a century, yet it has brought about a decline in almost every ecosystem on the planet. Nature doesn’t have a design problem. People do…….

Learn from Victor Papaneck¹s.

Especially from his books: Design for the Real World  and  Design for Human Scale.

Learn from  Anita & Gordon Roddick …..

real entrepreneurs  and  exceptionals  activists .www.……get active, get inspired


Learn from the indigenous peoples

For thousands of years they have lived self-sufficient, with an integral conception of the world and of life respecting all lively and inanimate beings living in harmony with their surroundings, they do not feel superior, biodegradable constructions with local materials, the forms are soft adapted to the human eye and the natural environment, land without cement or asphalt. They follow the rhythms of nature, do not use violent technologies … On the threshold of the 21st century, there are still 300 million Indians, and in the 5 continents more than 5000 different ways of understanding the world.




It’s design for life !We don’ t need more products ……. we need trees
Become a tree, behave like a tree, design trees
Trees work with the Sun.
Provide soil, water and fresh air
In total harmony with their surroundings
Everything they produce is food for the earth, animals and human beings
They do not generate waste
Trees are spiritual beings THE TREE is the link between heaven and earth the symbol of this movement the image of this manifesto, and it¹s also becoming a call for peace. THE TREE is the model for the next industrial revolution it¹s a peaceful revolution led by the teachers, designers and craftsmen who will sow the seeds of freedom, hope, peace and life.

This manifesto comes from The Sea, from The Forest, from Nature and from certain human beings: Gandhi, Satish Kumar,  Fritjof Capra, Janine Benyus,  Arundhati Roy, E. F. Shumacher, Vandana Shiva, E.Tolle…….
thank you to all of them.

In Health and Peace.


When you go to the supermarket and say no to a plastic bag, you are making a gesture for  peace
When you design a plastic bag which is biodegradable, you are making a gesture for peace and an example for others

ACT NOW!,by making the collection “GESTURES FOR PEACE”Re-design the 10 products you most use in your everyday life…..using the  YES! I¹M A TREE  with no copyright nor patents – they belong to everyone.

Lecture given in Tel Aviv on 19 February 2007 for the Bezalel Academy of Arts & Design of  Jerusalem