Easier Living, By Design," on the influence of Mary and Russel Wright."/>

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
New Ideas
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 07.26.10 | PERMALINK | PRINT

Alexandra Lange

Culture War Begins at Home


Odd thing about being in the New York Times: a) everyone sees your story and b) everyone sees your story. I got this polite but slightly alarming email in response to my Opinionator piece "Easier Living, By Design", on the influence of Mary and Russel Wright.

One of my favorite periods is the Craftsman period that seems to be confined to our country. What came after that is by my impression pretty dismal indeed, and in a hair raising way, de-humanizing, or homogenizing. Now I see the way that what Mary and William Russel ‘taught’ meshes so nicely with the way that the New World Order demands that people of the world should be dumbed down, and eventually disposed of. It destroyed culture, not supported it or even offered an alternative culture. I see that before the ‘50’s chrome and plastic days, the old fashioned ways were under attack, and in the false prosperity that existed post WW!! fed right in to this destruction of old fashioned, destruction of self sufficiency and individuality, family, and community, and the outrageous propaganda of these two hacks was a bludgeoning of a real culture, instead of replacing it or evolving it into another culture of value. And we have responded like Pinocchio and his truant friends tempted by the insidious  lure of a new and “easy” way of “living”

Reading through the comments there is quite a culture war going on between the proponents of linen, silver candlesticks and dining rooms and the lovers of open plan and plastic. I am actually agnostic on this (my house has a library, no dining room). What the Wrights were saying to me was, Think about what you don’t need, and don’t worry about it. Streamline your life for you. That streamline was a style no longer matters (though clearly many would buy it again in a heartbeat).

Share This Story

RELATED POSTS


Paju Bookcity: The Next Chapter


Enjoying TypeToy


Jan van Toorn: The World in a Calendar


Visualizing Landscapes: In the Terrain of Water


Wim Crouwel: The Ghost in the Machine



LOG IN TO POST A COMMENT
Don't have an account? Create an account. Forgot your password? Click here.

Email


Password




|
Share This Story



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 >>

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 >>