Archive for the ‘Shopping’ Category

Recession Aesthetics

June 20, 2009

DishSoapCompositeThanks to the tanking world economy, this year I suddenly found myself confronted by a perfect storm right in my very own kitchen: I needed to obtain the vast quantities of calories required by a ravenous teenager and his younger brother without having to declare bankruptcy. The blissful era of strolling around the local food co-op with a petite handheld basket containing a single grass-fed steak at $26 and a recycled-paperboard pint of $5.99 organic raspberries was over. And so it came to pass that in January I bravely pushed a doublewide chrome shopping cart into the land of excess that is Costco. I quickly realized that shopping there isn’t just about food, the experience is an education in the subtleties of how the graphic design of brands sells products to their intended audiences.



A Tornado of High Heels

March 20, 2009

Shoe WheelI’m completely intrigued by the shoe wheel from Rakku. However, doesn’t it look like the most impractical storage device of all time? Sure it saves room but it looks like a pain to get shoes in and out. Plus, it looks like a box fan that sucked up a bunch of high heels. I think the only reason it looks slightly appealing is because of that perfect rainbow of pumps.

Like Peanuts

March 16, 2009


One last comment on vintage vending machines: Look how happy this model is pretending to be about her purchase, Love Among the Haystacks. Other books on offer here include Tropical Passions, Kept Woman, and the disturbingly-titled Finger Man. Would readers buy The Odyssey or Moby-Dick from a vending machine? No, because the context devalues the content to the level of a snack: cheap, easily consumed, not very nourishing or filling, and disposable.

Chair of my Dreams

March 12, 2009

I have a total crush on this pair of Marc Newson chairs; I love the way they look as if they’re casually lifting up their heads, curious to see what’s going on. Their voluptuous shapes, sculptured around a void and propped up by that single severe steel leg, just kill me. And the dry, rough wicker combined with shiny metal make these so much more interesting than Newson’s same chair in white felt or his similar design in aluminum and enamel. The wicker duo is to be auctioned off by Christie’s in New York on March 26 as part of the 20th Century Decorative Art & Design sale. Did I mention I have a birthday coming up?

Green Totes: Are We Sure About This?

March 11, 2009


Is this really what the whole, green, eco-friendly trend is supposed to achieve? Totebags that are intended to replace plastic bags are now being mass produced by the thousands, probably out of harmful materials. Visit your local Forever 21 to see the anti-green tote bag, stacked up and strewn about, each printed with an extremely annoying phrase like “I know I’m green but what are you??” Oh boy.

Buy it Now, Then

March 10, 2009


Vending machines were all the rage in the 1940’s and 50’s. The allure of buying something the instant you thought of it was a potent sales tool, as our current addictions to internet shopping prove. Vending machines remain popular in Japan for all sorts of items, though in the USA they’re pretty much relegated to selling beverages and snacks. There is a genius art vending machine in the Whitney Museum’s lower level, a kitschy statement on the value of artwork and how it’s bought and sold. But a half century ago, you could rely on a vending machine to provide the trappings of a swell night out. Feel naked without your perfume? We can help.