Wednesday, December 10, 2003

It's Official: Architects Are The New Black

In the aftermath of September 11, many seismic cultural shifts occurred below the media radar. One of the most interesting is that the unlikely Daniel Liebeskind became a household name. From out of obscurity onto the pages of Page Six and Vanity Fair, and even The New Yorker, architects and graphic designers are, for lack of a better word, cool. To paraphrase Huey Lewis and the News, it's hip to use a T Square.

In the January 2004 Vanity Fair they profile some of the more high profile members of the design community. The Corsair has to admit, there is a sort of high bohemian aesthetic hipness to those cool cats. Clad in black and sporting interestingly designed glasses (do all architects wear glasses? Or is it some Machiavellian stunt to achieve the effect of great learning?)

I mean, successful members of the design community represent both the ancient and the modern: the reside at the nexus point at which technology and art achieve confluence. Their hair is bad in that nurtured in the wilderness manner that suggests genius and, at the very least, a touching lack of personal vanity. They wear strange Modernist jewelry informed by the religious symbols of far flung exotic lands. Their vocabulary is nebulous, as rendered famously by the smart sister who went to Brandeis in Hannah and her Sisters; they know their way around words like "space" and "grid" and "unrealized," yet their millieu is quite substantive -- glass, for example, and titanium.

Let's face it: Architects, who once were lumped in one notch below chemical engineers in the hipness game, are the new black. Their resume is so much more weighty than yours or mine. If I walk into a bar and hit on a leggy hot chick, I might, out of the side of my mouth mention that I had a great interview with David Lynch, and that he had to delay his flight to preside over the jury at Cannes to talk to me. Cool, right? You'd think so: you'd think that I get the girl. And in a just and rational universe I would get the girl. But this is not a rational universe. Now, imagine if an architect walks in. What has he done lately? asks the hot chick, gamely. Nothing much says he from behind large spectacles. He's just designed the Saidye Bronfman Center in Montral. Ka-blam! And just like that I'm buying him a drink while he's discussing breakfast options for the morning after with wifey.

Let's face it: it's an architect-designed world and we are just renting space.

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