In times of great haste, we dare to be slow. Not a mere shift in velocity but an altered state of being. We break cycles of distraction and destruction, opening deep chasms of energetic insight. Slow defies conventions, embracing the imperfect, the strange and indigenous. Not the prettiest apple but the tastiest, the unaltered, the one that bends the branch.
We’re standing at the precipice of a new age, driven more than ever before to redefine the terms of our consumption, the pace and thrust of our daily lives. This is the common desire around which Slow has come together. We found ourselves spoiled by infinite choice, our minds cluttered by hyperconnectivity, disconnected from the consequences of our habits on the natural world around us and on our fellow human beings.
To be slow is not just to decrease the pace of life. It’s about taking the time to reconsider our actions and think more deeply and responsibly about how we live. It’s about consuming less and better, aware of the social, environmental and systemic impact of our choices. It’s been more than 30 years since the journalist Carlo Petrini protested against a fast-food chain opening in Rome’s Piazza di Spagna, sparking the creation of the global slow food movement. A comprehensive approach aimed at preserving food cultures and raising consciousness about eating habits, it has since morphed and expanded into a cultural revolution across many disciplines, from urbanism to media to the world of design.
We count ourselves as part of this movement, drawing inspiration from an intellectual and literary lineage that’s as deep as it is wide. “There has always been a parallel track for contesting the notion that faster is better—a countercurrent for slow,” wrote Carl Honore in his 2004 book, In Praise of Slow. “Thoreau going to Walden pond, Nietzsche talking about too much speed, Bertrand Russell, the hippies.” Slowness, in the words of the Netherlands-based Slow Research Lab, also signifies “an expanded terrain of individual and collective potential that brings balance to the pace at which we encounter the world.”
Slow has been quietly unfolding since the creation in 2016 of La Granja Ibiza, a working farmstead devoted to discourse around food. Originally conceived as a Design Hotels project, it soon became clear that La Granja was the beginning of something bigger. Slow founders Claus Sendlinger and Peter Conrads began to assemble a community of designers, farmers, writers, artists, artisans and architects whose work engages with slowness and related concepts such as deceleration, sanctuary and decay toward a resetting of values in hospitality and beyond.
We began to build and nourish a network of locally rooted places that offer a deeper, more conscious form of travel—not a “pit stop” away from the hectic pace of daily life but a continuous journey of reconnection, of learning to live in harmony with nature, our shared human heritage, our community and ourselves. We take a localized, “slow” approach to every element of the design, working with sustainable, native materials whenever possible toward the creation of integrated aesthetic environments designed to enrich physical, mental and psycho-social wellbeing. Through year-round and seasonal cultural programming, we explore slowness through craft, farming, design and healing, with each place taking a central discursive focus.
The practices across all of our places are supported by our Roads program, an ongoing series of thematic retreats and inquiries around the world aimed at recapturing connectedness to the natural world and to each other. Our magazine Slowness is where the world of Slow comes alive through original reportage, sound, poetry, art, illustration, film and other forms of digital storytelling.
We draw inspiration from idealistic collectives of the past, like the 1920s experimental Catskills retreat Yama Farms, the legendary avant-garde incubator Black Mountain College, or the iconic German art school, the Bauhaus, all of whom looked to traditional cultures and crafts as they dreamed up wildly innovative new forms.
We want to capture the spirit of Isabelle Eberhardt’s remarkable wanderings through the Maghreb and Freya Stark’s travels with a donkey through an Arabian winter. When the time comes to travel again, we yearn for an older, slower way of moving through the world.
Yet we look toward the future, to new sustainable technologies and design methods, to novel ideas and audacious dreams. We want to be outdoors, to nourish ourselves on what Thoreau called “the tonic of wildness,” and to live evermore in the moment so that we can inhabit an existence that’s “more elastic, more starry, more immortal.” Or, in the words of Rachel Carson, the mother of the green movement:
“One way to open your eyes is to ask yourself, ‘What if I had never seen this before? What if I knew I would never see it again?’”