Thursday, November 02, 2006

Mediocrity Within Reach

The above quote adorns the entryway of a Design Within Reach store in a neighborhood I frequent. Who is this Sebastian J. Barbarito? A Google search turns up only a few instances of the same quote. There is no other trace of this person.

Seeing this, I thought of a remark attributed to the architect Mies van der Rohe: “God is in the details.” The Barbarito quote could be Mies re-processed by a management consultant.

Note that the Barbarito can, strictly speaking, be read two ways. It might mean that attention to detail is a path to mediocrity! And that’s even true: people often miss the big picture.

Also note, in the picture above, that “Sebastian” is misspelled. So Mies was right—the God of Laughter stopped by.

2 comments:

Sebastian J. Barbarito III said...

Hello, my name is Sebastian Joseph Barbarito III. My father made that quote. I was recently searching his name to show a friend that my father made a quote that is posted on the internet. I came across this website and wanted to let you know that I can be reached at Josephbarbarito@bellsouth.net. Thank you for your time.

Bob said...

In response to an email from me, Sebastian J. Barbarito III has further informed me that his father is a chemical engineer for DuPont and lives in Parkersburg, West Virginia. He described his father as a perfectionist who often makes the statement that was quoted by Design Within Reach. Attention to detail makes great sense in an engineering context.