It’s official. A corporate lifestyle-tech conglomerate is taking over the American class system. Apple has audaciously assumed the position of bouncer in the world of who’s whom. For $99 dollars, you can now unabashedly cut in front of any schmuck waiting for service at the Genius Bar. How good does that feel? Of course it feels good. You deserve it. Because as they’ve already made clear, you’re a PRO! Banks used to honor business checking lines in a presumed effort to boost local economies and boost business. Now Apple is catching on to the game, except this time, no free toaster is required, only the purchase of a $3000 PRO MAC. Now that you’ve put your money where your profession was and have mastered the art of elite computing, why wait?
In fact, it’s a perfectly reasonable money-making ploy for Apple. But the whole “PRO/Priority” thing is vulgar. See more:
All that aside, who can’t wait to be the first one on the block to have one of these glistening badboys?
This company makes me nervous. Initially I took their name to mean they were going to make it easier for people to afford beautiful things. You know, like they were gonna knock off everything and get away with it. It looked like a cheap strategy to me, but everything was so expensive! I saw no reason to further seduce America with trophies of classes past, and I saw it as a marketing degradation of classic product designs. But then my lady smacked me on the head and said, “not everyone has access to a designer who can buy these straight from the manufacturer!” Oh. I get it. I feel better about DWR now, but not healed.
DWR is sending me unsolicited emails about Zaha Hadid’s newest bathrooms and suites on some hotel floor in Madrid where “each of its 12 floors are designed by a different architect at a lavish expense.” HOLD UP! Do we need this? Is this within reach? Are our design heroes designing for the future of humanity or for the future of their AMEX bills? The blog goes on to explain that, “it also happens to be an exceptionally good value (rooms begin at under 200 euro), which helps keep the spirit surprisingly unpretentious.” Huh?! DWR is including me in an overtly exclusive email /blog based on my prior purchases. I am now part of a DWR consumer elite. What could be more pretentious? After all of my initial doubt and subsequent benefit of the doubt, I think DWR’s up to some yucky stuff. They need to really consider their objectives if they want to continue positively in this generation. May I suggest,
I was just driving home and heard World Champion chess player Gary Kasparov talking to Tom Ashbrook on “On Point,” the radio show from WBUR. You may remember that in 1996 Kasparov represented the human struggle against computer intelligence and lost— in chess. Kasparov’s a fascinating guy— warm, concerned, fiercely intelligent, speaks beautiful English— and he’s leading a grass roots movement to challenge the upper-most constituency of Putin in a possible run for president in Russia’s next election. Before I lapse into irony, let me say that I was in awe as I listened. You could hear the concise political logic and strategy that only the world’s greatest living chess player could bring to the table. He had every possible corner of the Kremlin’s aging bureaucracy in sight, as well as every action the Kremlin could take in vain defense over the next few decades. Though the man was recently arrested and jailed for political dissent after leading protests for the “other half,” he remains commited to his cause. Bear in mind, he mentioned that the 100 wealthiest Russians hold assets totaling one third more than the entire Russian federal budget. So he’s a man of a lot of the people. I like him. He’s a fighter.
But I can’t escape the irony of his situation. Yeltsin’s market revolution provided a political choice after his presidency: the money or the people. Putin has gone for the money, chasing western economic and industrial growth. And now Kasparov’s going in for the people. He want’s to raise the power of Russia’s people to challenge the power of Russia’s interminable oligarchy. Okay, wait, rewind, deja vu. Wait, oh yeah. But I’m a designer fixated on the social power of industry, and Kasparov’s last major political opponent was who again?
Productdose.com just posted this smokestack looking “Chimney 2″ humidifier and air purifier with just commentary. I wanna kiss the wacky creative director who came up with this one and spank the designer who listened. Go team! Fresh air for your home with that zesty 1870s Manchester feel. Ahhhh. (Available in five colors.)
I had a philosophy teacher who used to try to figure out which corporations foot the bills for big political agendas; he racked his brain for weeks over pro-life until he realized it must be Eastman Kodak, cause everytime a baby goes to take a dump, someone’s there with a camera. (It was the 90s— predigital.) So in his spirit, I’m wagging my Colbert finger at WorldCoal, Kleenex and Benjamin Moore for this. You do the math. Only a team effort could so insidiously capture the anti-eco zeitgeist and shove it right up your ashtray.
Forgive my greco-automotive obsession, but am I the only one who sees an Ionic capital on the front end of a Jeep? I always saw the Jeep as a working man’s car, more of the Doric order. Alas, times have changed. The Jeep has become the workhorse of America’s middle class. What was once a military vehicle used to shuttle our generals is now a luxury vehicle used to coddle our generals. That’s Ionic. Look, it’s right there in the Jeep logo:
I recently read an industrial design masters thesis by a Pratt graduate named Byron Morris on the subject and history of design for weapons and warfare. I neither recall the title nor the date of his thesis— poor citation— but it was fascinating. Somewhere in the middle he showed contrasting images of Frank Lloyd Wright’s work and concrete bunkers built by the Nazi’s along their Atlantic Front. I’ll let him do the talking:
“Although Fallingwater was constructed before the Atlanitc Wall, many later designs of Wright continued to bear this remarkable similarity to military bunkers… [in part] because he was was always very fond of reinforced concrete…. Wright strived throughout his career to design buildings that followed the mandate of modern architecture, “form follows function.” It is interesting that buildings with such drastically different functions have the same form. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say, “form follows materials” in respect to modern architecture.”
As an aside, the above picture depicts the view from which people most commonly shoot photographs of Fallingwater. Interestingly, I’ve heard that after Wright completed the house and saw similar shots, he said he never really expected that the house would even be looked at from that angle, let alone that it could be shot so successfully from that angle. I’m sure the Germans had similar thoughts.
So I’m stopped at a light in a total trance, right, and this old Rolls pulls up at the light across the street, and I’m staring at its grill when all of a sudden I’m like, OH MY GOD! THAT”S THE PARTHENON! I couldn’t believe it. Now everywhere I look I see the Parthenon riding around on the grill of some car. Especially real classy ones like the 1975 Lincoln Continental Mark IV. I’m like, oh shit! I thought Detroit in the 70s was all about Liberace. Turns out it’s Fibonacci! Who knew?
The Chinese seem to do whatever they want when it comes to production. If it means putting lethal doses of melamine into petfood to make it look protein rich, fine. If it means shuffling popular brand names into anagrams to corner the dyslexic sector, well that’s fine too. I just love this trend of tapping into nonsense to duck liability.
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Hear ye, hear ye!
Let us now embark upon these treacherous seas and soils run amok with man made things both wild and wanting of consequence! Open your eyes! Calibrate your calipers! Some of what you may see will surprise, astound, and even bore you with its patency. But no thing will be viewed without mystery! In every ring is the fruit of man’s industry. Behold, The Industrial Circus!