14 April 2010

Nick Olsen in the new Lonny

The design blogosphere has gone bonkers over the new issue of Lonny and there's an apartment by Nick Olsen featured that's getting a lot of that attention.

Decorno wrote about it on Monday night and her headline read, Nick Olsen Is an Opium-Addicted Chinese Hooker. The woman is everything I aspire to, I swear. Anyhow, in Decorno-speak that's high praise.




I got in the first comment. It was one word. Hideous. I think it is really hideous. I get it, Olsen's making a name for himself and he's playing around with archetypes. While it might be clever, it's still ugly. I think my real objection to it comes from his use of all those gloss paints. Well, that and the clutter. But the gloss paint just kills me.




It photographs like a crime scene or a set from The Silence of the Lambs and living with it's no easier. Every flaw in that wood and plaster work is exaggerated by the sheen on those walls. It's awful.


An anonymous commenter left this a couple of comments after mine.
"Horrible," screamed the blogland zombies who want their Weinrib fabrics and their inspiration boards.
Please. Yes, I'm a blogland zombie for saying that I think purposeful, studied ugliness is ugly.

What do you guys think?

29 comments:

  1. Translation: Someone disagreed with you! Waaaaaah!

    First, your comment applies to only one aspect of one room of the apt. What about the furniture? The lighting? The accessories? The patterned floor? Is the bedroom, where the walls are not painted glossy but are covered in Ralph Lauren fabric, also "hideous"?

    If Decorno is "everything [you] aspire to," why didn't you follow her example and articulate intelligently and specifically what you didn't like? The one word "Hideous" makes you look childish, unable to put forth a well-considered, detailed, professional opinion.

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  2. Any coward can throw stones from behind an anonymous comment. If I knew who you were I might be inclined to respond.

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  3. Oh Paul ---Thanks for (always) stepping up to plate and telling it as you see it. I agree with you entirely. What's wrong with making a summation of this oh-so-wrong (on many levels) design. Why would anybody want to sift through a blog of point-by-point blows explaining what's wrong with it?

    Well, I thought to myself (and now sharing with you), maybe there are people who stumble upon your blog who are not designers or artists and don't know that you know of what you speak! (They'd know if they ever read your blog before.) Or maybe they're just color blind. Or maybe they are hoarders and this space looks great compared to what they live with.

    I think that space got printed because there is a lot of red. Red is great for advertising. Red sells. Red is an attention getter. It worked.

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  4. This looks like something Hildy Santos-Thomas or Doug Wilson would have done to a room on "Trading Spaces" if the homeowner had said, "I really want something neutral and kind of peaceful." It's enough to elicit seizures. The only thing missing is silk flowers glued to the walls.

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  5. Pam: I didn't know I was defending a dissertation. It was a comment for crying out loud. The same anonymous coward followed me over to Decorno and left this shortly after he or she pooped on the rug in here:

    "Hideous!" ..."You kids get off my lawn!" screeches the old man in the bathrobe, shaking his fist.

    I must have some kind of influence.

    Kathy: Not even Trading Spaces could make a mess like this. Though they'd come close. I wonder how glued on silk flowers would photograph. Hah! I'm glad I'm not the only blogland zombie.

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  6. What you said Paul. I'd never want this "look" in my home. I think it might cause me to slit my wrists (the bloody red and all). And who is this Anonymous talking smack to you?!?! I despise anonymous comments.

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  7. I'm no fan of anonymous comments either but if that's what it takes to get dissenting voices in my comments then so be it. I think it's all rather amusing.

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  8. Hilarious!

    Translation for those who demand a fully formed sentence to grasp the idea of the writer...I think this conversation is funny and so is Paul.

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  9. Gloss paint on walls always looks so plastic to me.. or sticky. Can you imagine if you brushed up against the wall by accident and were stuck there like an overgrown bug on a fly strip? Yes, that's what goes on in my head.

    The anonymous comment after your comment reminds me of the guys that women sometimes have the misfortune of meeting who hit on you horribly, and when you say that you're not interested tell you that you must be a lesbian. Because you know.. it's either you like *them* or you must be gay, no middle ground AT ALL. Because of course, they are the pinnacle of manhood.

    Sorry buddy.. we can not like the icky thing for its own sake.

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  10. Elizabeth: This whole thing's hilarious. I love that anonymous felt compelled to complete the circle over at Decorno. Heee!

    Nim: I couldn't agree more wholeheartedly. Gloss paint on a wall is just bad news.

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  11. I think I realized why I hate the walls in my new house so much: gloss paint. Why are you always able to articulate things I don't know I'm feeling?

    Please write a followup post about life as a blogland zombie.

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  12. Paul, now you know where to send folks with their roosters to finish the job. (re. your Urban chicken rant) Red always goes with red. Feathers and zebra, it's a natural!

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  13. Aah, let the kids play - Lonny is not meant to be for grown ups
    I clicked through to Lonny so I could make a considered and thoughtful comment - now I have migraine auras and can hardly see my screen. Perhaps there isn't really a connection...

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  14. That apartment is missing an urban chicken coop to make it complete. I wonder if ole Nick thought of that.

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  15. Julie: I LOVE your blog post idea. Let me see what I can come up with.

    Sarah: A migraine aura... That's what I'm seeing. Thanks for giving a name to my affliction. Now it's not so daunting and I can refer to dealing with it as my journey.

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  16. Ooh I love a good design discussion! While I certainly couldn't live in his place, and that animal print pillow on the couch makes my eyeballs bleed, overall it doesn't make me want to retch like it does to others. But I am under thirty, shop flea markets and love shiny things so I tend to like Nick. However some areas - particularly the bedroom - look really forced. Does the armoire really need painted triangles? Sometimes there needs to be visually quiet moments to appreciate an artful amount of "busy". But I guess that depends on whether someone thinks there CAN be an artful amount of busy.

    And yes I want installments of the adventures of blogland zombies!

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  17. OMG!!! - at first I thought you were going to say something complimentary about this mess and I thought "Oh God, he's lost his mind". Good to see you're still of sound mind. "Hideous" summed it up beautifully. I'd love to see anonymous' digs.

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  18. Saucy: I've been waiting for you to weigh in. CAN there be an artful amount of busy? Speak for your generation please.

    Amy: Thanks for your comment.

    You know, that whole mess reminds me of a ramshackle house I lived in when I was in college. There were a host of us living in that house. We sat around, smoked dope and had Deep Conversations. We thought we had it all figured out. Eventually, we grew out of it and got on with our lives. That Soho apartment reminds me of some neo-hippy squat. I look at it and think "OK, he'll grow out of it eventually." In the meantime though, it's the decor equivalent of an undergraduate's temper tantrum.

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  19. Holy cat fight, this is getting bloodier than a Romanian Rugby match. Just reading the pro and anti comments over at Decorno and here, I admit I had to examine the carnage shown on Lonny. It's heroine chic if you can call it chic at all.Bleh! Affordable luxury is what they call this? Design blasphemy more like it.

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  20. Heroin chic is right! Boy, just about everybody's a blogland zombie all of the sudden. Hee hee!

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  21. I've been thinking about this now my aura has subsided - we need all this crazy youthful experimentation, it's how design moves forward and avoids ossification. A professor of mine described the opening of Beethoven's 1st Piano Sonata as "spitting on the carpet of the enlightenment" - I bet it got called hideous a lot(scheusslich is so perfect!). But where would we be without Beethoven? We're having an "emancipation of dissonance" moment with these designs, I say kudos for being bold - just don't make me live with it, please.

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  22. Sarah, I am with you on this. ;-) While I do think this is a bit of "in your face, anti-establishement-Idontcare-F.U." personal expression of the designer in question, I am not offended by it because I do not have to live with it and I did not pay for it. Spitting on the carpet of enlightenment...your professor had a sense of humor. Wonderful analogy!

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  23. I understand avant garde, I really do. I not only understand it I can appreciate and embrace it for the job that it does. The glass houses and furnishings I talked about the other day are prime examples of a concept made real that's not something I'd ever want to live with. I love that it provided an foothold to start a conversation (even if it's just an internal one) about the very nature of furnishings and home.

    I see in these Nick Olsen interiors a self-indulgence and that's what bothers me. I don't get the feel that those designs and that magazine spread are there for me to have an internal dialog about the fundamental nature of ornament. That's OK too, sometimes that invitation can be delivered with a punch to the gut.

    I see a spread like that and I see that room being met with multitudes waving palm fronds and I don't see any discussion of it as an edgy concept. What I see is my phone ringing with people who want me to paint their dining room walls in red lacquer.

    Like Laurie said above, this is just stirring the pot for the sake of stirring the pot. And like Laurie too, I wish I'd have had the professor you invoked.

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  24. To me, this just looks like a jumbled mess of hand-me-downs. Even though I like bold colour and animal print and rooms with some funky in them, I don't like this space at all.

    Sometimes when I see people gushing over designs like this, I wonder if I'm missing something. Do I just not get it?? Am I just not cool?? Am I out of touch with design reality?? Oh well, if I'm all of those things, that's OK by me. I like what I like and I can appreciate what I don't like. But in this case, I can't even appreciate what I don't like 'cause I really don't get it!!

    Kelly

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  25. I just don't think there's anything to get.

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  26. Thank you for your opinion! All I've seen until now is blog posts about how amazing and wonderful this design is. I love the bold color and certain individual elements, but I just don't get all the hype. Honestly though, I think my biggest problem is the sofa... I can't get over the sofa.

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  27. Ooh lawd. I had to come home and pour a glass of wine to adequately speak for my generation...

    First – I hope to gawd there can be an artful amount of busy because that’s all I got! To me a PROPERLY executed busy can be visually stimulating, warm and inviting. I don’t want to wake up to it every morning but I like to work in it and have fun in it. And if I can’t be creative or have fun (and make mistakes) in my own house then those glossy red walls are from where I just slit my wrists. My generation does busy with Jonathan Adler pottery, etsy art and antlers. An older generation just does it with chintz, Limoges and bottles of blood pressure medicine. ; ) Same shit, different decade.

    Secondly – I know this place looks like the bastard child of a threeway between Sister Parish, Miles Redd and a hot glue gun but I have more of a problem with the idea that he was trying so desperately to appear affordably chic (ABC Carpets? I think not.) and “off” as he describes himself. Interiors should match the person not define the person.

    Lastly – “Emancipation of dissonance” is genius whether you agree with the choices or not. Does this room inspire me? Not really. Does it push design? Maybe. But I’m young, broke and bored. I’ll take this over a page out of Pottery Barn ANY day!

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  28. Nicole: You are welcome. One thing I'll always have plenty of is opinion.

    ModernSauce: You are the voice of your generation. That was brilliant. Please keep hanging around.

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  29. The middle-aged woman swirled up to the man in a flurry of black lace and garters.

    "And what would Sir be interested in tonight? I think that Sir is new to our establishment?"

    "Yes, uh, what I mean is that I've never... Mother, you know, would not have approved, but the guys at work, well they've all been here and they said that I should, well, that it was a very fine, uh, establishment here and I, uh..."

    "I see, Sir," said the woman briskly. "I know just who would be the best choice for Sir, if Sir would be good enough to indicate which gender he is primarily interested in tonight."

    "Oh, uh, girls."

    "Very good; I will send Penelope down."

    "Uh, thank you very much."

    The man sat gingerly against the leopard print pillows and tried to ignore the faceless silhouette paintings on the walls. It was very obviously the kind of establishment that Mother would never have approved of. He could still hear her voice.

    "Glossy red paint is the sign of the devil, Matthew, and don't you forget it! Remember that Susan Mae? Her mother told me that not three months after she painted her room a glossy red with white accents, she ran off with that Baker boy, got herself pregnant and he had to marry her! You stay away from that kind of interior decorator, you hear me?"

    He stood up suddenly, nearly catching the rough rope of the silver tray on the coffee table and sending the whole tea service on the floor. The round mirror mocked his efforts at calm, showing him a sweaty red face in a rumpled shirt.

    "Mister Smith?"

    "Yes!" he blurted, whirling around and beholding a beautiful woman clad only in a silk negligee. As she walked towards him, he noticed an unpleasant smell and looked closer. Her skin was grey. Her eyes were dead. She was a zombie. Behind her came Madam's pleasant inquiry, "Is Sir pleased with Penelope?"

    "No! I mean yes! I mean, I think Mother needs me to pick up milk!" he babbled as he tripped over a white urn-like pottery jar in his blind quest to find the door and keep track of Penelope's advance, the sexy wiggle turning into a careless staggering shamble as her mouth opened and a low moan escaped her.

    The front door wouldn't open. He had opened it himself, not twenty minutes ago. The red walls now seemed like they were melting, running into patches of blue and white and surrounding him with their low-VOC stickiness.

    All pretense laid aside, Penelope bared her teeth as her stagger became more violent and she leaped towards his throat. He screamed in desperation and despair as her onslaught burst past his terrified hands and her teeth snapped shut on his-

    "Mr. Smith! Mr. Smith! Wake up!"

    "No! Mother, I didn't mean to-" he flailed for a moment, still seeing the blackened teeth en route to his jugular.

    "Calm down, Mr. Smith. Evidently the new anxiety medication didn't work for you. We're going to put you on your former medication until we can sort this out."

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