Light Talks

The beauty of Imperfection

As time goes by, my idea of what to consider “perfect”, in my own Design as well as in my life, is getting closer to its opposite: the imperfection.

In a world where plans and actions are someway ruled by patterns or templates (being them physical or procedural), imperfections are still a tangible evidence of an author’s hand and personality. His/her real value added, if you prefer.

Yeah, I can hear your thoughts: “You can’t reach perfection in what you do, so you’re taking this as an excuse for your failures“. Well, it might be that..

You know what? Keep reading and decide for yourself.


I could’ve chosen a “noble” wood instead of OSB.

Oriented Strand Board is just a patchwork of wood scrapes glued together and, after all,  it’s mostly employed for a variety of functional panels.

That’s why if you want a unique and elegant artwork you usually  go for a solid, fine nuanced wood rather than OSB.

Same goes for engravings.

I mean, who on Earth would ever argue that a CNC carved inscription is less accurate than a manual one?

Lines carved by an “electronic hand“ are straight when they have to be straight and rounded when rounded. No sign of trembling, no callygraphy variations, characters are nice and regular.

And, first and foremost, everything is replicable, fastly and reliably.




Nevertheless, consider the following.

Every single scrape the OSB panel is made of represents itself a story.

The story of a machining. The story of a cut. Was that scrape torn off by a chisel? When was it cut? What was it for? Where does it come from?

A solid block of wood, like a log or a slab, has got its peculiar rings and lines and colours.

Surely most of its beauty is exactly in all of that, since these features are just what makes it unique.

And yet, try to reconsider your idea of “beauty“ and “value“ when it comes to OSB.

Unlike plywood or MDF,  this is a high-grained mix of wood scrapes, having each one its own well-distinguishable colour, shape, surface, roughness, ageing.

In a word, it’s own identity.

Now, two shelves coming from the same block of solid wood are surely different but they share the same source of uniqueness, though.

That is cool.

Could any couple of OSB panels ever share anything? No, they definitely couldn’t.

Neither in terms of composition of the whole panel, nor for the stories of the scrapes and their hallmarks. A uniqueness made of many uniquenesses. The beauty of being  “one” and “many” at the same time.

The value of infinite identities.

That is super cool!

However,  don’t  get me wrong about manual carvings.

A baby-style, inaccurate engraving is certainly not what I aim to.

But, being the artisan human, his/her struggle to get as close as possible to a smooth and regular line is much more valuable than the predictable work of a computer-controlled router.

Why is that? Because the artisan is not supposed to succeed, whilst CNC router is expected to.

Well, I’m not a bookmaker, but everybody knows unlikely bets are usually paid more…

All above said, I hope you got a better idea of why “imperfection“ is my “new perfection“ now!


You may call me “boomer“, but in my opinion we are moving fast towards a future where most of creativity will be expressed in the skillful programming of machines in order to get the “perfect Design”.  And when advanced  A.I.s will take all the room for improvement out of us, wanna bet imperfection will be some way recreated by algorithms to get something new and unexpected? I wouldn’t be surprised.

The same reason why vinyl album sales are growing in the last few years, after all.


Keep calm and enjoy your imperfection.

Wanna get more from this tale?

Did you enjoy your reading?

Care to share?

Leave a Reply