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Piracy shared is piracy doubled

Ian Martin is nominated for a Looks Nice Award

MONDAY Brilliant. My Museum of Piracy has been short-listed for a Looks Nice Award.

Or as the organisers insist on having it, ‘short-sighted’. It’s got a good chance of winning too I think, as the other five short-sightees are rubbish. Here they are, in no particular order of merit.

• The Nano-Monsters Science Discovery Centre in Sheffield, featuring a giant virus petting zoo, designed by Atelier Neuroburo.
• Boo Hoo Hoo Design’s ‘atheistic thinking pod’, an annexe to the multi-faith prayer room at Manchester Airport, incorporating a ‘pondering booth’ for agnostics.
• A pseudo-Georgian avatar exchange in Kettering, designed by Urban Jizz.
• The Hobbit Bar in Notting Hill, a fantasy landscape interior where all bottles, glasses, furniture and bar staff are twice normal size. Designed by Archiptextur.
• ‘The house that turns into a car that turns into an office that turns into a bathroom that turns into a costume that turns into itself!’ designed by Haus of Kar and currently parked in a lay-by near Coniston.

TUESDAY The Looks Nice Award is my first nomination of the year. Gratifying, of course, but also a bit embarrassing.

I mean obviously it’s great that the judges like the Museum of Piracy’s ‘swashbuckling exterior, with its popular aerial plank-walk and rigged façade’. They admire the inside too. The Davy Jones’ Hamper restaurant and Treasure Island gift shop are both highly commended.

There’s even wry approval for the unique visitor charging system, though that had nothing to do with me. Entrance is free but you have to pay a ‘ransom’ to get out.

It’s embarrassing because the Looks Nice Award is sponsored by Cutting Wedge magazine, a trade publication aimed at the blatantly vulgar commercial sector. And the judges are my old friend Darcy the architecture critic and his border collie, Bess of Hardwick.

I can already sense my enemies massing on Twitter like simpering starlings, devising some sarcastic hashtag about cronyism and swapping jokes about my weight.

Idiots. The Looks Nice Award can’t be fixed. It’s dog-driven. Darcy simply takes Bess round to look at new architecture. If she likes the building, she barks. It’s then ‘short-sighted’ along with half a dozen other buildings.
Darcy and Bess go back to have a proper ‘long look’ at them all and the one that provokes the most tailwagging is the winner. Looks Nice Theory is incorruptible.

WEDNESDAY Or is it? I mean, if someone were to distract Bess with a chewy snack or jingling toy outside the Museum of Piracy, would that boost my chances? How unethical would it be?

I wonder if the same idea’s now occurring to my fellow shortsighted auteurs. Yes, perhaps when Darcy and Bess go back for their long look I should, as a sort of moral imperative, be present. Encourage tail-wagging. Level the looking-nice playing field.

THURSDAY Irony on the high seas! A pirate version of my Museum of Piracy’s being built in China!
Worse, this clone-sharking is being explicitly encouraged by Cutting Wedge.

Their latest Special Pirate Issue has an editorial IN PRAISE of design piracy, which it says expresses the buccaneering spirit of the age.

It’s PROUD that the pirated piracy museum was featured in enough detail in the previous issue to make it easier to copy.

It is of very little consolation to think of those other imagineers of epic space, furiously discovering that Shanghai has a Hobbit Bar or Beijing’s getting a giant virus petting zoo, but it is of some.

FRIDAY Frosty meeting with Darcy and Bess. Obviously I’ve withdrawn my Museum of Piracy from the Looks Nice Award. I have also engaged a cheap solicitor to copy someone else’s legal strategy in pursuit of an infringement of intellectual copyright claim against the museum pirates. All that remains is to work out whose fault it was.

I blame Darcy. Darcy blames Bess. Bess remains inscrutable, but she’s definitely avoiding eye contact with me. I swear to God I’m beginning to think - not for the first time - that the plastic arts are too important to be left to the pets of the practitioners of the plastic arts.

SATURDAY My fixer, Rock Steady Eddie, is actually pleased about my pirated piracy museum. ‘What do they say? Imitation’s the most flattering form following function, yeah?’ I despair.

SUNDAY Become shadow of former self in recliner.

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