NYT Home section “analysis” of the new rug are creeping me out."/>

Design Observer

About
Books
Job Board
Newsletters
Archive
Contact



Observatory

About
Resources
Submissions
Contact


Featured Writers

Michael Bierut
William Drenttel
John Foster
Jessica Helfand
Alexandra Lange
Mark Lamster
Paul Polak
Rick Poynor
John Thackara
Rob Walker


Departments

Advertisement
Audio
Books
Collections
Dear Bonnie
Dialogues
Essays
Events
Foster Column
From Our Archive
Gallery
Interviews
Miscellaneous
Opinions
Partner News
Photos
Poetry
Primary Sources
Projects
Report
Reviews
Slideshows
The Academy
Today Column
Unusual Suspects
Video


Topics

Advertising
Architecture
Art
Books
Branding
Business
Cities / Places
Community
Craft
Culture
Design History
Design Practice
Development
Disaster Relief
Ecology
Economy
Education
Energy
Environment
Fashion
Film / Video
Food/Agriculture
Geography
Global / Local
Graphic Design
Health / Safety
History
Housing
Ideas
Illustration
India
Industry
Info Design
Infrastructure
Interaction Design
Internet / Blogs
Journalism
Landscape
Literature
Magazines
Media
Museums
Music
Nature
Obituary
Other
Peace
Philanthropy
Photography
Planning
Poetry
Politics / Policy
Popular Culture
Poverty
Preservation
Product Design
Public / Private
Public Art
Religion
Reputations
Science
Shelter
Social Enterprise
Sports
Sustainability
Technology
Theory/Criticism
Transportation
TV / Radio
Typography
Urbanism
Water


Comments Posted 09.02.10 | PERMALINK | PRINT

Alexandra Lange

Kitchen Godjets


Bad form to apologize for not posting. But it is the lightest news week of the year! All this coverage of Barack Obama’s office! The psychologists-cum-decorators in the NYT Home section “analysis” of the new rug are creeping me out. And Dominique Browning says what I would have said, had I been asked:

Dominique Browning:
Former editor in chief, House & Garden

"All those earth tones. Brown upon rust upon ochre upon…drab. We’re dangerously close to Harvest Gold here, folks. This office does not inspire confidence. The presidential team is clearly trying to project a laid back, we-don’t-do-decorating image — and why? Design matters. We judge books — and presidents — by their covers, at least at first glance. Obama’s office looks small and subdued; it could be the TV room in anyone’s house. The Bush version could have used tweaking; it is a tad on the fussy, nouveau-suburban side, but at least it is light, airy and elegant, as befits the office. And those blue stripes on the side chairs have panache. The Bush carpet — and each President commissions his own — wins hands down; those radiating stripes are wonderfully bold."

So let me call your attention to something more interesting in the same section. I wrote about the evolution of kitchen design here (many revealing descriptions of kitchens past in the comments) and mentioned the upcoming MoMA exhibit Counter Space. Here’s an interview with the dynamic curator Juliet Kinchin, talking about the role of women in making the American kitchen, and how space stresses us out.

Since then, the kitchen seems to have gone from a modular, efficient place to one customized to various tastes, outfitted with computers, TVs and nonergonomic tools like Philippe Starck’s lemon juicer.

Reyner Banham, the critic, called things like that “symbols of affluent futility.” After World War II, it wasn’t just about the abundance of food, it was about the proliferation of these symbols. You’re selling appliances by dancing. Banham also called them “household godjets.” It’s the leisure kitchen.

And:

Some people hate to cook.

It’s called mageirocophobia, the fear of cooking. That’s the downside of bringing the kitchen into the middle of the home — you’re being judged not just by your family, but by not feeding the family well enough.

|
Share This Story

Comments

Design Observer encourages comments to be short and to the point; as a general rule, they should not run longer than the original post. Comments should show a courteous regard for the presence of other voices in the discussion. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments that do not adhere to this standard.
Read Complete Comments Policy >>


Name             

Email address 




Please type the text shown in the graphic.


|
Share This Story



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alexandra Lange is an architecture and design critic, and author of Writing about Architecture: Mastering the Language of Buildings and Cities. (Princeton Architectural Press, 2012). Her work has appeared in The Architect's Newspaper, Architectural Record, Dwell, Metropolis, Print, New York Magazine and The New York Times.
More Bio >>

DESIGN OBSERVER JOBS









BOOKS BY Alexandra Lange

Writing About Architecture: Mastering the Language of Buildings and Cities
Princeton Architectural Press, 2012

Design Research
Chronicle Books, 2010

More books by contributors >>

RELATED POSTS


Artist’s Cookbook: David Levinthal
David Levinthal's recipes of choice, his mother's brisket and her chocolate roll, are both nostalgic and riddled with more complex meanings.

Artist’s Cookbook: Kiki Smith
Kiki Smith takes the body and turns it inside out. She makes art from innards. But she eats salad.

Designer’s Cookbook: Jake Tilson
Only in the layered, interconnected culinary world of graphic designer, artist, cookbook author Jake Tilson could huevos rancheros eaten in Los Angeles inspire someone to cook Baid Masus, or Baghdad Special Eggs, a 13th-century Arab dish.

Designer’s Cookbook: Louise Fili
Lousie Fili on her love of Italy, type and food.

Artist’s Cookbook: Joel Meyerowitz
Photographer Joel Meyerowitz's story of marriage and pasta con le sarde.