ruminations about architecture and design

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

fashion edition

This weekend I got a flyer in the mail from a furniture company called "Room & Board." I'm familiar with them because they recently undertook an extensive renovation of a building at the far end of Newbury Street. I was not impressed by the offerings I saw in the flyer. To my eye, it looked like upscale versions of standard Ikea products. I can't quite explain why, but instead of seeming fresh, all their stuff looked dated.

I wonder if turnover in home furnishings is accelerating in wealthy economies. The Ikea stuff usually doesn't last long. Its obsolescence is an essential part of their design and manufacturing philosophy. They know that people will come back for more flat-packed junk that can be loaded into rental vans. The urban masses need sofas, couches, end tables, and dining room sets ad infinitum. 

And who will prove to have a better business model? Room & Board, Restoration Hardware, or Ikea? Whatever happens, I don't expect any revolutions in furniture design.

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