Defining Beauty

How can we define beauty? If asking friends, family and beyond, the answers are likely to vary as much as the people we ask. Some find beauty in nature or in finely crafted objects. Still others find beauty in music or in the eyes of the ones they love. The list goes on and changes within each of us through the various stages of life or even moods of the day. So how is it possible to define beauty in any objective way? Maybe objectivity is not the point.

For me beauty is more of an emotional experience. When the form of an object moves in just the right way, that’s beauty. When colors and textures harmonize to energize or relax, that’s beauty. Watching couples strolling down my street from my porch swing on a cool evening, that’s beauty. Despite the seemingly countless ways beauty can be perceived and appreciated, I believe it is essential to the human experience.  Beauty can and should be cultivated. Beauty provides a sense of something bigger than ourselves. It provides a sense of expanded possibility.

A very talented friend, architect and interior designer, Tim Campbell gave a speech in Berlin earlier this year that among other things spoke to this topic. As an interior designer, I so appreciated his insight when he spoke about finding meaning in his work. Tim said, “I couldn’t reconcile that ultimately, my calling had to do with just making things pretty…because I didn’t understand how beauty mattered. But over time, I came to know that it does matter. Beauty matters because it invokes peace. And the experience of peace let’s us see the world differently.”

I agree that beauty matters. Attempting to bring more of it into our lives is worth pursuing. And because cultivating beauty is central to my work, I find myself feeling grateful for the opportunities, relationships, artistry, and craft that I am continually exposed to and surrounded by.

Mark Cravotta's Youngest Daughters

Mark Cravotta’s Youngest Daughters


The Majorelle Garden, a twelve-acre botanical garden, in Marrakech, Morocco.

The Majorelle Garden, a twelve-acre botanical garden, in Marrakech, Morocco.


The Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh, 1889

Vincent van Gogh (Dutch 1853-1890), The Starry Night, 1889.