Friday, February 15, 2013

Just a quick vent...

I've had an interesting time lately, trying to ingest the current 'industrial' design trend. It seems like everywhere I turn, someone has turned a useful tool into a decoration. Shop carts made into thousand dollar coffee tables, clamps into coat racks, and viable industrial space into lofts and apartments.

I'm sure there's a larger point to be made, and I'll get around to making it someday, but I think that the reason it bothers me so much is that I feel like these people have no appreciation for manufacturing or industry. The equivalent in modern work equipment might be to make things out of last year's useful items.. but who really wants a coffee table made out of old desktop PC towers, cash registers, and coffee house grinders?

At the end of the day, the two main things that are up for sale if you want to make a living are goods or services. And goods must be manufactured by people who know how, in spaces that are appropriate for that task. But it's as if the designers took a look at outsourcing, looked around at all of the remaining potential, and thought to themselves, "Well, they won't be using this anymore... let's turn it into something cute!"

If manufacturing is (was?) one of the things that made this country great, then isn't the process of turning productive spaces and equipment into trendy fluff a little bit like eating the seed corn?

This has been more and more of an issue for me as I begin to look to the future, and to think about moving into a different space. So many perfectly good industrial buildings have been chopped up and repackaged as 6- and 7- figure condos for 'modern living.' Buildings built to last the test of time, now re-furbished with the latest and greatest of almost-disposable appliances. I'm not sure why it just rubs me the wrong way, but it does.

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