Spring is sprung, and I found myself with a big fat DWR (Design within Reach) catalog on my table that asks the question (square of grass front and center on the cover) “What is green?” Looking through the catalogue, I had the feeling that I was participating in an irony so blatant that I wondered if I was missing a secret joke. From the look of the pages, green is MONEY!
DWR has nice stuff, some fascinating, some beautiful, some just a bit weird. Aside from the odd accessory and some very well designed and affordable chairs, the furnishings it showcases are on the expensive side. Some are extremely expensive, and virtually none of it is for the great mass of the consuming public. Ikea, maybe. Walmart, never! So, green in DWR becomes another in the long series of political/cultural ideologies as fashion statement. In this case, the statement of a certain hip, well heeled, highly educated, and eco-sensitive slice of the consuming public.
I don’t mean to knock DWR – they have nice stuff, as I said. It’s not their fault we live in the silly world we do. Hippydom became a fad too. I recall reading an account of the Arts and Craft movement in America that pointed out that in American houses, the ceiling beams were often simply hollow simulacrae rather than hefty oaken supports – image over substance. So it goes…
Green has been on my mind: Soylent Green, and green architecture reviewed in this nice book from Taschen. It starts with a lengthy philosophical survey/rant on the history of architecture from the eco perspective. It’s hard to tell sometimes whether he is advocating or critiquing the more extreme and outlandish views of the apocalyptic fringe of environmentalism, but the book itself is handsomely done – as always with Taschen – and has some fascinating buildings in it.