Episode #1: Is beauty really in the eye of the beholder?

Episode #1: Is beauty really in the eye of the beholder?

How does beauty affect our mood? Our behaviour? Can beauty transcend time, cultures and countries? And is beauty really in the eye of the beholder? Join the Austrian designer, Stefan Sagmeister, in the first episode of the podcast series ‘The next 20 years’. In this he explores and argues the importance of beauty and takes a trip down memory lane exploring how beauty has evolved, cornering important periods, architectural monuments and people as he goes along.


Stefan Sagmeister is an Austrian born, New York based designer, who explores beauty, how it has evolved through time, focussing on architectural influences and time periods. He argues that the term ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ is a romanticised term, put forward by screen writers of rom coms in the 20th century. Instead, he argues that beauty can travel borders and be understood, agreed upon and recognised regardless of cultural origin, bias and outset. That beauty can easily be translated. Illustrated by the Adolf Loos, Mies van der Rohe and other influentials who paved the way for an international recognised style. A style that is understood across cultures, countries and beliefs.


    • The evolution of beauty

      “Now you still might say. But what is it, beauty? Can you define it? And I would say yes, it is possible to define it. I would say beauty is a conglomeration of things that affect our aesthetic sense like form, shape colour, materiality, composition. That all work together to really affect my ethic sense, but particularly and especially the eye.”

    In the episode Stefan Sagmeister goes into detail with how beauty has evolved throughout times. Taking examples from architecture, design and science showcasing how people, designers and buildings have affected and changed beauty as we know and knew it. Stressing that beauty today and the next 20 years is becoming an increasingly important tool to change attitudes and behaviour.


    Stefan Sagmeister goes on exploring the effects of beauty, explaining that beauty will play a much larger role in the next 20 years. He emphasises that beauty effects our psyche and well-being and nurtures a certain behaviour, and on the opposite is true for sameness and non-beauty.

    Sagmeister truly believes and argues that beauty has a positive effect on behaviour and our mood. Put simply: “We not only feel better when we are surrounded by beauty, but we also behave better.” In the end, he offers three reasons as to why and how beauty will become increasingly important the next 20 years.

    Listen to the full episode and let your mind wander and horizon expand.

    Listen here

    Episode #2: eliminating ageing

    A quiet breathing space in a busy everyday life