Sunday, 22 March 2009

Yours to keep…or is it?

Being a 28-year-old designer now experiencing his first “recession” I have found myself asking a few questions about longevity in an idea, quality in design but more so what makes us hang on to that thing.

I look at my ipod touch daily, it is there for me whenever I call on it, music to satisfy my mood, emails to check and reply to & even the occasional bit of web browsing, a great product of its time. However, ask me the same question in one year’s time. I bet you it is tucked away in my iPod cemetery bottom drawer, along with 4 other generations. I keep the older ipods, they all work fine, play music and serve their purpose, but they are not as slim or intelligent as the new Pod on the block, all black & glossy. I am one to horde but perhaps it is the romantic in me urging me to keep this piece of technology along with the 1999 winkle pickers that these items can be passed on to my children.

Who knows would they even be interested its Dads vintage pieces?

“We can't afford to keep changing taste so fast. Let's hope fashion in design will disappear” Philippe Stark,2009

Indeed with the current world financial melt down, it will be natural for a bit of a lock down on spending, but have people now become more educated about their homes and ecological issues?

Arne Jacobsen Model 3107 chair

The arrival or a Arne Jacobsen chair in a family home in Copenhagen was and is often celebrated with a welcome party, that chair will stay in family for many lifetimes and hold a tremendous amount of value.
It won’t be replaced by the latest offering by Ikea, it may sit alongside it, becoming a classic back bone to the room, but it will stand the test of time and will always be returned too.

Although the Jacobsen 1950’s design is not seen as antique just yet, there appears to be an apparent uprising in the iconic classicalness of the past.
Furniture, Architecture & fashion can represent ourselves, the way we fit out our homes the way in which we live and how we dress living our lives.

We’ve made things cheaper, cheaper, cheaper. Now we don’t care about things any more, which is terrible. Marcel Wanders, 2009

The notion of antiques can be seen as buying a piece of someone else’s history, the piece lives on but has either been replaced or has served its purpose.
Where as the classic piece will keep living, a cheap piece of fashionable furniture will not, it is not designed too.
It could almost be classed as seasonal furniture changed like a room set in a show room.
Will it survive 50 years and be passed down through generation like an Eames fibreglass rocker? No.
Short-term solution? Yes.
It is cheap and fits the purpose and will be deposited rather quickly, not even as firewood, it probably will not burn so good.
Ikea Karlstad Chair

Indeed Marcel Wanders himself has given credit to the antiques pieces he mimics in his design. On creating “New Antiques”. The Antiques range he gives a nod to the French industrial period with the playful romantic artisian approach of the Belgium’s. The creation of something new but perversely classic looking is quite a strange concept, especially with a 20th century price tag, but it can be understood what character the piece of furniture is trying to convey. Although flamboyant, the furniture will be designed with perfection in mind, a classic in appearance but with no age, no history, no markings of time.
Is this a new modernism one which will stay with us for years to come? Perhaps not, but it may well reappear in the future as a portrait of an original antique. Almost, like a picture of how things used to be.
Marcel Wanders - New Antique Collection Cappellini

It takes individuality to break from the pack, every World of Interiors; Style Magazine & Sunday supplement illustrates this as a growing breed. The VW Camper van driver knows the machine is not built to travel forever but a love forms and forgiveness comes with this. A piece of iconic motor engineering does not come cheap, but illustrates a character of its owner a desire to get out, travel and be seen in such an illustrious character.
VW Camper Van

A home takes on infinite styles throughout its life; shaping the character of the interior fit out, others offer nothing more than a white backdrop. Houses themselves can almost be quick fixes, suited for their purpose, a place for living. Products do this to; a chair is for sitting in, no matter where it is from or when it was conceived.
However, to see people become more educated in design, understanding that a piece of furniture will stand the test of time, stand up to all of the wallpapers and paint colours placed around it.
It will live in the home as much as the home will become a place to live.
Items won’t be so fast changing in current climate, spending will reduce but the need to find something special will live on. Some of the best houses are an amalgamation of furniture, art and fittings brought together through inheriting, antiques markets and high street furniture shops, fused to become a place to live in.
Chloe Sevigny House, New York City

It works, but will it work for the next generation, will they use our old white ipods because they will somehow be collectable, forming the new retro? Perhaps, but technology of the 20th Century has already killed off the cassette, video and mini-disk, with DVD sure to follow. It becomes apparent that we must stop becoming a throw away generation, with a need for design to carry the tag longevity within its thought process.

What of the non-classic pieces; old school desks, coffee & occasional tables, wooden chairs of an era but not classics? They live on, collected in warehouses, under viaducts in clearance company’s storage spaces. These pieces can take on a new lease of life; I may like too take this opportunity to introduce to you the Alchemy Table [Campaign #1].