The much-hyped new magazine for 'middle-youth' females, Red, proclaims this month 'Our fashion pages will be for women, not waifs. You won't find food that takes hours to prepare. Our home pages won't be full of absurdly minimal loft spaces.' The implicit connection made in Red's manifesto between pared-down minimalist space and bodily anorexia is thought-provoking. Both the waifs and the loft space can be understood as in retreat from the messy materiality of everyday existence.
In similar vein is Red's piece reassessing the use of white in the interior. The 'house stylist' of Ralph Lauren uses white not in the Modernist manner of an eraser, but rather as an includer: a base colour which allows an immense eclecticism of furniture and finishes. This is the antithesis of architecture as absence. Inconsistent details, architraves that don't meet, exposed lighting conduits - all are celebrated within live-in interiors, complete with furniture so knocked about it is fainting with fatigue, never mind distressed.
Adrian Gale's appointment as head of the pow school of architecture is heralded by some as signifying the final demise of the critique against the profession which gained momentum during the 1980s. Red's presentation of design suggests otherwise. As a Geiger counter of current aspirational zeitgeist, ie what those who hold the purse-strings really want, Red's designer-led, 1990s version of the protest against architectural inhumanity is worth noting.