Insights 11.13

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Insights 11.13

 Design:

  • WeWork, the venture capital fueled coworking space company, has been seeking expansion into other aspects of life over the past few years, ranging from dorm-like corporate apartments to gyms. Now they're turning their attention to childhood education, and the first design concepts from Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) have been released. The style is aggressively bland: a beige-soaked bastardization of a Montessori school that's more oriented towards adult tastes than creating a rich learning environment for young minds. This is that most pompous type of design, imposing a rigid notion of 'good taste' that is almost puritanical in its self-imposed discipline of nothingness. While it's totally in line with the affluent lifestyle brand WeWork seems to strive for, it is at odds with the beautifully messy chaos of being a kid and experiencing the world for the first time. 
  • Considering the past and present of 'modest' clothing for women, sometimes a representation of personal freedom, sometimes an artifact of intense social pressures.

 

Body/Image: 

 

Bias and Brains: 

 

More next week. 

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Insights 11.07

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Insights 11.07

 Design:

 

Labor Pains: 

 

Virtually There:  

 

Automatons: 

 

Branded: 

  • Amazon is following up their fashion tech investments over the last few years with the introduction of numerous brands-within-a-brand for apparel and furniture. They seem to be borrowing the shopworn ampersand-laden naming conventions of many a dead-end e-commerce startup: one of their furniture lines is "Stone & Beam," a reflection of both their astute powers of consumer-behavior data crunching and the overwhelming blandness of their house brands. The everything-store giant already sells more house brand batteries than Duracell, along with copious amounts of everything from baby wipes to HDMI cables, all bolstered by insider analytics and the ability to preference their own lines in search results. While customers are mostly on the winning side of this, paying lower prices for what are ultimately artificially differentiated commodities, many of their competitors must be stewing about the seismic changes in the market. We would not be at all surprised to see a coalition of multinational corporations teaming up to lobby U.S. politicians in the coming years, bringing an antitrust effort against Amazon, all under the pretense of protecting the mom-and-pop Main Street retailers. 

 

More next week. 

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Insights 10.30

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Insights 10.30

 Design:

 

Seen/Unseen: 

 

The Engineered Earth: 

 

Just A Game: 

 

Material Culture: 

 

More next week. 

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