Ian Martin discovers expedience follows form follows function follows global branding
MONDAY The problem? A housing crisis in London, an urgent need to maximise brownfield and infill sites, affordable space at a premium. The solution? My new building conversion prototype, the SHEDSIT.
High-five self, take rest of day off.
TUESDAY God, I wish the high-pitched arty-farty Twitterati would give it a bloody rest for five minutes.
OK, so I designed one of the seven ‘concentrated camps’ they’re setting up in Qatar to accommodate World Cup migrant labourers.
What? You’d rather they were just sleeping rough? Spare me the finger-wagging.
My concentrated camp is called Conservative City and it has everything the contemporary indentured foreign labourer at the mercy of a powerful desert kingdom may desire. Roofs. Rentable mattresses. Buyable food. Generous discounts on all World Cup replica kits.
I’ve even included a discreet ‘dormitory village’, which is what my clients have thoughtfully renamed the mortuary.
WEDNESDAY I’m creating a potentially iconic profile for a city skyline. Doesn’t matter which city to be honest, they’re all more or less the same, aren’t they?
I’ve started with the name, as this can really nail the spirit of a city, wherever it is. I’m calling whatever it is The Placenta. That gives it a literal sense of place, and also subliminally suggests that as a landmark entity it will be organic and full of transmittable urban nutrients.
Before I decide if my placenta landmark is actually a building of some sort, I decide that it will definitely be
a) a gateway experience and b) the ultimate global branding vehicle.
What’s important these days is not ‘how it looks’ but ‘what people see’. And with a 4,000m2 LED urban placental meniscus completely covering whatever’s underneath with arresting, effervescent 24/7 advertising, that whole boring problem of what to put underneath is literally ‘overthrown’.
Expedience follows form follows function follows global branding. Yes, The Placenta will be delicious, whichever city it plops down in.
Oh, I know! I’ll just stuff a generic office building underneath the LED meniscus, that’s always a financially solid move. Everybody LOVES offices covered in adverts. Man alive, it’s on days like this I feel proud to be whatever it is I am, doing whatever it is I do.
THURSDAY I was asked to carry out a survey of sexual orientation in the world of epic space. I’m afraid I can’t tell you who the client was. Let’s just say they’re at the high end of online fashion retail.
It was a multiple-choice questionnaire. A lot of respondents put themselves down for more than one sexuality. Which is fine obviously although this may have tailoring implications for the client, I don’t know. Which, incidentally, was itself a high-scoring sexual orientation.
Percentage results as follows.
- Actually Straight: 43. Straight For Clients: 87. Straight For Planners: 62.
- Simply Gay: 55. Minimalist Gay: 21. Baroque Gay: 17.
- Parametric Lesbian: 12. Right Angular Lesbian: 5.
- Generic Bi-Perpendicular: 29. Neither Know Nor Care: 48.
- Polymorphic With Buffed Finish: 1.
- Cross-Dressed Mix Of Folk Sexuality And High Architecture: 2. Open: 33. Ajar: 41.
FRIDAY Depressing day at Labour Party headquarters. I’ve been asked over to give them an estimate for rebuilding.
As is customary in this sort of extended metaphor I shake my head a lot and breathe in sharply through my teeth, which is more difficult to do with dignity than you’d imagine. I keep nearly choking.
The bad news I have to give them (and here I take the customary pencil stub from behind my ear and lick it, ugh, disgusting) is that even with the support of stylish professionals such as architects, ceramic artists, digital conceptualists and sound sculptors, Labour is extremely unstable and could collapse at any moment.
For now I’m recommending rhetorical underpinning and a temporary, disingenuous façade, but long term I think they need to demolish and start again on solid ground. Maybe a traditional community build next time, with nothing BUT ‘poor doors’.
SATURDAY Five-a-zeitgeist reversible football. Pushme-Popup 2, Metrolympiad Olympicopopolis 2 after decompression, shirt removal and life-swapping.
SUNDAY Deep contemplation in the recliner. I think about where we are, and who we are, and it all seems a bit like one of those beautiful Grayson Perry pots. In many ways it’s a funny old world, yet in a number of specific ways it’s a tragic new one.