I love the podcast 99% Invisible. But I don’t love it because I’m interested in design. Oh, sure, my mom and my brother are fascinated by design, so I’ve learned to appreciate good design, but the thing that’s great about 99% Invisible is that Roman Mars, the host, loves design. He’s absolutely passionate about architecture and the crazy ideas people have had throughout history to improve the human experience with the built world.
And nerds like that make the best teachers. When you listen to Roman Mars and his staff talk about something, like egress or cow tunnels or quatrefoils, their excitement is contagious, and you find yourself thinking, “Wow! That’s really cool,” and looking at the world around you in a new way. It’s exactly the way I like to learn best. It’s the reason I took classes in evolution and Greek Plays in college: because the professors were passionate about their subjects.
I listen to 99% Invisible every week, usually as soon as it hits my iPhone. But my favorite thing about it might just be the ad at the end. 99PI is sponsored by Tiny Letter, whose motto is, “Email for people who’ve got something to say.” Roman Mars always follows this with a micro interview with one of his sons, who, he says, “always have something to say.”
This week’s episode was about a German architect who eschewed the use of straight lines, so Mars asked his son, Carver, “Would you like to live in a big, pink house that has no straight lines just all squiggly lines?” And Carver, who I want to say is about five years old, replies, brilliantly and without hesitation, “No. I would like to live in a house with one hundred secret passageways and a waterfall.”
That. Is. The best.