I attended a contemporary furniture show yesterday. It was a display of some of the more beautiful accoutrements one can build with or put in the slew of homes, condos, and buildings sprouting up all over today. I found a few items that would help our untraditional work with controlled environment spaces, not so much with function, but the ability to make the form look much better. A lovely time was a moment with a friendly architect and his sister from the UK, where I got a glimpse into how and why he thought the way he did. Interesting mind indeed.
As I walked around what used to be a desolate wasteland of sorts called Javits center, it appears to be the new hip and trendy place and space to work. It is like someone took a gamble a few years ago and now everyone and their brother is building there. The number of cranes was unusual to see, and it sent a strange, ominous image of America in 2007. I am not sure if it a tipping point? Alternatively, that space in the bell curve where too much is going to soon collapse on what is not enough?
While I hope this is not the case, when I look at the overall shape of the united states, it is a bit skewed to corporate and wealthy America. A healthy balance with all is what I see missing. Hudson Yards is now another retail outlet for the wealth of the world to come from wherever to buy more stuff. I call it stuff, yet, for one example, it is some of the most beautiful and elegant watches from Switzerland. What will most Americans buy? That one brand they have heard about, but not realize how many amazing brands come from that tiny watchmaking nation. I might joke about the rigidity of structure and culture in the country, but when it comes to exceptional precision – I can’t think of a country that does it better.
What I am watching in the states is this sad game of scale that I hear about lately. “does it scale? Is it infinitely scalable?” as a motto for any business. Someone asked me what our model is, and I said, “It goes back to a simple idea that we create or make something for someone and they will compensate for it…it isn’t about mega scale and the idea of covering the planet with a brand, I used to do that, but found the quality would be lacking over time…the dillution & delusion process.”
“it is that space when your quality levels falls below your normal standard and the people at the top get blinded by ROI and their stock options and cash in while thinking they are still making at the same quality level.”
before anyone gets upset with that comment, please realize i do understand how difficult it is to keep the quality, form, and function high in the market today. too often i see the perils and weaknesses of scale have a negative effect on quailty versus a lifting up of it.
When I looked around today at what we are playing within the maker and rapid prototyping places, I realize it is a small niche market, and I am ok with that – it is not for the masses. It is for people that don’t want the diluted and watered down everything that seems to be coming at them like a tidal wave of “stuff” one can consume.
I guess the part that bugged me the most yesterday was all the fake and preserved “plant walls” and materials where one could have living and growing plants, yet, in the world of maintenance-free convenience, you stick preserved dead plants on the walls and market it as “eco-friendly & natural.”
Exciting times we live in, but as I walked around and saw all the cranes and people scurrying about. I got a sense that another 2008 isn’t far away. Will the government bail out the large players again and create an even more significant gap between the people?
Maybe what is odd is that I was naive in thinking the capitalistic model was the one and only. While I do not have any solutions for more balance with the world and people in it, I have been around a few systems, and I am ok with “stuff” not being the end all to life, and a skew going towards people being more humane to each other. My friend trying to push coworking in Switzerland will laugh, “maybe mark is moving to where more sharing happens?”
I have seen this happen well only in the world where there is a lack. People share more and help each other as each has a deficiency. When you have a nation full of stuff, I think people cling and hold onto “stuff” with an iron claw fist. It is as if people are more afraid of losing something than realizing the more you give, the more you will get in return.
That concludes my 10-minute ramble. Now some coffee and working on a few new prototypes and ideas.