There are natural forces at work that dictate how things will look. The tree leans because of its proximity to sun, birds fly south and the water flows. Whatever that natural force is that told the river to flow a certain way through the woods, also told the beaver to build the dam to impede that river. When a beaver builds a dam, the beaver isn’t in conflict with his environment, he is part of it.
There should always be a harmonious undercurrent in a design that responds to, interacts and informs the environment it finds itself in. Be that an apartment in Hong Kong, a countryside home or the moon. To design as unapologetically as the beaver, is to create a product that is so fitting with where it is placed, that the setting would appear incomplete without it.
There should always be an integrity of material. No matter how advanced our building technology becomes, it will always boil down to what is being built, and what it is built from. The materials are the language in which the message is spoken. The content of the message is up to the artist to decide, but the language of the message must be clear and honest. Concrete wants to be concrete. Birch can never be maple and the 110 year old cast iron pipe wants to look like it is exactly that. If you don’t want to say “110 year old cast iron pipe” then by all means remove it, but don’t paint it mauve because it goes better with the curtains. Let it be what it wants to be.
Design should speak to us without requiring copious analysis. The experience can be augmented by studying it further, but additional investigation should never be demanded. When a Ferrari is spotted driving down the street, the innate reaction is: "awesome”. There needs to always be a factor of awe in any project, without sacrificing substance. It is shortsighted to deny the strength of having a motif that is so strong, it will stop you in your tracks and turn your head.
So make it cool.