Thom Filicia's Musings on Design Sustainability and Snooki

There is a big difference between manners and good taste, says interior designer Thom Filicia, one-fifth of the Fab Five from Bravo's popular "Queer Eye" series. Knowing what society requires is just half of the battle: "When you’re very proficient at anything you then are able to look at it holistically and then actually push it a little bit further.  I think when people are less connected to a concept or an idea they’re intimidated by it and therefore they kind of follow it as opposed to lead it.  So I think when you talk about taste or taste makers they’re generally people who have a great understanding of the social requirements but are able to sort of play with it and push it a little bit further."


In his Big Think interview, Filicia tells us about his design aesthetic and the fact that he views his clients' interiors as narratives that should tell a story about the clients themselves. "It's a direct extension of their life, their lifestyle," he says. Filicia has really embraced the trend towards sustainability, which is just as robust in the field interior design as in architecture. And just because an interior is eco-friendly, it doesn't have to look sparse and sterile. Filicia walks us through an interior that looks inviting and comfortable but was designed using sustainable materials and furniture. One trend he hasn't embraced is, though, is that of Snooki and the "Real Housewives."

Filicia also described to us his process of coming out as a gay man. Telling his parents he was gay was pretty uneventful, he says, but explaining that he would be on a TV show called "Queer Eye" was surprisingly more difficult.  "It was like coming out for three years everyday." This clip is part of Big Think's "Coming Out: Stories of Gay Identity" series, in which prominent members of the LGBT community, like comedian Stephen Fry and filmmaker John Cameron Mitchell, recount their experiences coming to terms with their sexuality.

Should you defend the free speech rights of neo-Nazis?

Former president of the ACLU Nadine Strossen discusses whether our society should always defend free speech rights, even for groups who would oppose such rights.

Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Former ACLU president Nadine Strossen understands that protecting free speech rights isn't always a straightforward proposition.
  • In this video, Strossen describes the reasoning behind why the ACLU defended the free speech rights of neo-Nazis in Skokie, Illinois, 1977.
  • The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.
Keep reading Show less

Harness the Power of Calm

Tap into the "Rest and Digest" System to Achieve Your Goals

Big Think Edge
  • In the fast-paced workplaces and productivity-focused societies many of us inhabit today, it is easy to burnout.
  • Emma Seppälä, a Stanford researcher on human happiness, recommends tapping into the parasympathetic nervous system instead—"rest and digest"rather than "fight or flight."
  • Aiming for energy management rather than time management will give you the resilience you need to excel at the things that really matter in your life and career, rather than living "mostly off" by attempting to seem "always on."

Apple co-founder says we should all ditch Facebook — permanently

Steve Wozniak doesn't know if his phone is listening, but he's minimizing risks.

Photo by Bryan Steffy/Getty Images
Technology & Innovation
  • Steve Wozniak didn't hold back his feelings about the social media giant when stopped at an airport.
  • The Apple co-founder admitted that devices spying on his conversations is worrisome.
  • Wozniak deleted his Facebook account last year, recommending that "most people" should do the same.
Keep reading Show less

Where the evidence of fake news is really hiding

When it comes to sniffing out whether a source is credible or not, even journalists can sometimes take the wrong approach.

Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • We all think that we're competent consumers of news media, but the research shows that even journalists struggle with identifying fact from fiction.
  • When judging whether a piece of media is true or not, most of us focus too much on the source itself. Knowledge has a context, and it's important to look at that context when trying to validate a source.
  • The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.
Keep reading Show less