Ian Martin meets an old friend, architect Fred Trousers
MONDAY Great news. My competition design for a vast open-air ‘museum of death’ has made it to the shortlist.
Turn on the actual news. Turn it off again, avoid it for the rest of the day. I can’t afford to get emotionally involved, or to be unduly influenced.
TUESDAY A pop-up colloquium at the Institute of Plasmic Arts. Epic Space: Rebundling The Brand.
The main speaker is ‘street brand magician Yadda Bing’. He presents a rundown of the latest unbundled brand trends, then cleverly rebundles them using cognitive misdirection. At the side of the stage where the deaf signer usually stands is graffiti artist Gutsy, who gives a running summary of Bing’s synaptic journey via sprayed tag narratives and a stencilled urban ‘powerpaint presentation’.
Bing, an optimistic self-publicist who in his imagination has probably rebundled Brand Yadda Bing as a clothing line or a chain of noodle bars, seems pretty sure about his brand-trending intelligence. Members of the audience wearing hats nod gravely along. Those sent here by line managers ‘to stay plugged-in’ are listening to music instead through little white indie-buds.
Summary: Dysgustopia. Already trending in parts of north London, dysgustopia simply means an attraction to innovative, inedible dinners. And that, predicts Brand Yadda Bing, means a new wave of restaurants offering ‘discomfort food’ and challenging levels of service. Now’s the time to dust off those sketches of the yuppie soup kitchen you did for a laugh years ago.
Sonic Boomerangnam Style. Watch out for classic second-wave videogame-themed leisure destinations aimed at in-denial thirtysomething ‘Sonic Boomers’ seeking a nostalgic weekend of exploring a repetitive landscape, bumping into obstacles and losing wealth.
Intersectional Banality. Traditional interior designs are all about to move one place round the table, as if at some Mad Hatter’s Tea Party for fit-outs. Be prepared for business interiors going industrial, retail interiors going business-like, industrial interiors that look like supermarkets etc until everyone collapses in a giggling heap.
The Filtered Aesthetic. Exciting new CGI/environmental control interfaces will enable buildings to determine ‘the way they look’. For example, the air surrounding a new office tower in a conservation area could be saturated with special ‘vintage’ molecules to make it look like a very tall parish church.
Generation A2 Segmentation. Architects, artists, dreamers and linguists should seek new ways of bringing together ideas such as inverted multitasking, cross-benefit social wellness, niche cliché, augmentertainment and ordinarisation in single sentences, like this.
WEDNESDAY In the morning, design a building that turns rainwater into a drug. In the afternoon, design a building that turns body heat into kudos.
THURSDAY To Bristol, for lunch with my old friend, architect Fred Trousers. Less than a week ago he became the city’s mayor and already he’s wearing a red corduroy toga.
Until now Fred was best remembered as the former president of the Royal Institute for the Pop-Uption of British Architects who persuaded the government to put design quality at the heart of the procurement process. Or the entrepreneur who redeveloped Bristol’s abandoned cigarette district as an aspirational hub with contemporary flats, green business/theatre space and a Michelin-starred restaurant, Trouser’s.
Now suddenly the Peter Stringfellow of Urbanism has a lot more on his plate. Instead of finishing his starter so we can both get on with our main course and have another bottle, Fred stares hard at the dessert trolley and says things like ‘I shall not but leave this city though any less but rather greater than I hath found it or be sworn to eat mine own testicles in ye porch of St Mary Redcliffe so but me God, ye whole truth and nothing but ye truth…’ It’s drivel. Sod it, I’m having his starter.
One of Fred’s first grand acts will be to assemble a ‘rainbow consortium’ of different people with a unity of purpose. He wants to a) put Bristol on the map and b) make sure everybody’s reading from the same map.
I toast his success, wish him luck and start thinking of ways to cash in.
FRIDAY Bristol brainstorming with my fixer, Rock Steady Eddie. Agreed I’ll pitch a network of community nano-markets, a statue of Fred outside Temple Meads station and
a world class pop-up-non-stop-trip-hop pavilion.
SATURDAY Five-a-zeitgeist theoretical football. Liberal Smartarsery 0, Trump Wisdom 1.
SUNDAY Unbundle self.