February 27, 2006
February 24, 2006
"It seems like we went from bemoaning junky construction to whinging about excessively good design in one fell hiccup."
That's Julie Iovine in an otherwise decent piece on 40 Bond Street. 40 Bond is the latest and, from a PR perspective at least, greatest luxury condo development in New York. Apparently what constitutes "excessively good design" apparently is a completely generic luxury condo floorplan surrounded by a large cast iron graffiti inspired gate. It's all in keeping with Schrager's trademarked slight of hand, his luxury hotels were built on a simple formula, the rooms were smaller (and thus more plentiful) than the competition, and well placed luxury items made it all seem ok. A classic maneuver, more sizzle less steak.
What irks me about Iovine's statement though is how blatantly it ignores what we can call the first guideline of relative design, if you can't afford it it's not good design. Any object out of your budget is not designed to solve your problems, and from that perspective can only be seen as piece of failed design. There is probably an angle or two from which Schrager's as yet unbuilt project can be seen as a good design. For example if you are filthy rich and are looking for an obnoxiously expensive apartment to let your peers know just how much you can waste than one of these units is probably damn well designed. But from just about any other angle? This is not good design, its good salesmanship. Sure there is probably a level of quality craftsmanship that will end up inside, and perhaps even some decent foresight. But there is a difference between paying for quality and paying for luxury. And once you are paying for luxury, then practically by definition what you are buying is not good design at all.
February 02, 2006
The Long Tail
Chris Anderson has finished his book on the long tail. I wonder if he wants his sales figures to lie somewhere in the middle of that tail or if he'd prefer something closer to a bestseller in the powerful head?
One curious thing about this long tail metaphor/diagram is that there is a tail and head, but where is the body exactly? Anderson "solves" this problem in his first post by calling the head the body, and helps himself out visually by using a curve that appears not to be an actual power law, but instead a distortion of one..
So in some ways Anderson has reached the end of this long tail, although I suspect the blog will continue on. But at this juncture I'm left wondering if Anderson's project is less about celebrating the long tail as a whole and more about exploiting the growing tail of distribution in order to find oneself in the powerful head of income.
All that said I still think Anderson sometimes is digging in interesting stuff and the blog to book model that he's help pioneer is quite intriguing...