Showing posts with label foolishness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label foolishness. Show all posts

02 November 2014

Looking for color advice? Then don't buy this book.

I've been a blogger for over seven years and despite my irregular posting schedule anymore, I get inundated by press releases daily. I look them over of course and a lot of them are interesting.

However, every once in a while one comes through my in bin that really sticks in my craw. Such was the case a couple of days ago when a release showed up that was hawking a new book on the "psychology" of color and how to use said psychology to pick colors for your home.

The press release even went so far as to lead with the tease, "Do you wish you knew the secrets to selecting the best paint for your house like the pros do?" Trust me, any pro who relies on the kind of goobledygook advanced by this book needs to lose his or her license.

Jeanette Chasworth, who calls herself  "the Color Whisperer," managed to cram so much snake oil into a single page release that it boggles my mind. Among her claims are these gems: "It tells you which colors create a mood and how to use that to your advantage to increase your health, lose weight, make your food taste better, and increase energy."

Honestly? The right color walls in my kitchen will help me lose weight? It'll increase my health? It'll make my food taste better?

Let's stop here for a minute and think about this. By what mechanism will I lose weight with the right wall color? Will it burn more calories than I take in? Will it exercise for me?

Will the right wall color season my food just so or thicken my sauces automatically?

And what on earth does a promise to "increase" my health even mean?

There is such a thing as color psychology, let me say that. And there's a place for actual psychology in interior design. However, none of that is absolute.

It's commonly held and never questioned that the color red improves your appetite. Well, what if you were traumatized by the movie "The Shining?" What if "red room" reminds you of "redrum" and you're immediately haunted by images of a deranged Jack Nicholson breaking down your door with an ax? Odds are, the color red is going to put you off the feed.

When I lived in Florida I had a yellow kitchen and I loved it. I loved it because my grandmother Stewart had a yellow kitchen and it reminded me of her every time I walked into the room. My neighbor Kevin hated it and decreed that he was mortified by the very idea of a yellow kitchen. Maybe Kevin was beaten senseless with a car aerial in a yellow room when he was a kid. Whatever the case, it was clear that he had a negative association between kitchen and yellow. On the other hand, I had a positive one.

That's color psychology in a nutshell. Blanket prescriptions of what colors make all people feel or respond in a specific way are nonsense.

The color selection process begins with "what colors do you like?" and it ends with "which of those colors will work in this space?" That, Madame Color Whisperer, is the "secret" to how pros select colors.

This books is hardly the first one to make such nonsensical claims of course. Apparently, making up advice like this is a good way to make a buck but it's a load of crap.

I would love to live in a world where people who proffer such magical advice are held accountable for it. What recourse do I have if I take her advice and fail to lose weight? What if my food tastes the same? What if my health doesn't increase, what ever the hell that means?

If you want to know for real how professionals select colors, just hire one. Honestly, just hire one.

24 January 2013

As if to prove my point

This e-mail just arrived:

For starters, what color grout to use on your back splash is not a huge dilemma. Deciding to take a loved one off of life support is. Let's try to work on getting some perspective.

For seconders, your dilemma would be solved best by the designer you're working with or the sales person you're working with where you bought that tile.Posting photos on Houzz and asking me for advice on grout colors I can't see is how you end up in real trouble.

If you're working with a designer or a reputable salesperson, he or she will ask your installer to do two mock ups. Each will use your back splash tile. One will have your tile with Pewter Waterfall gout and the other will have Silver grout. Once you see how those two different grout colors affect the color of your tile in your own home your decision will make itself. Do not buy tile from someone who won't do a mock up for you.

You're welcome.

01 July 2011

Through the Anthropologie looking glass

What's this?

Quick! Quick! here's another one.

Seriously, what are these things?

Are they powerful statements about class struggle? Nope.

Are they proof of intelligent life on other planets? Nope.

If anything, they're proof of unintelligent life on this planet. In the world of Anthropologie, they are chairs.

They're chairs that cost four grand a pop.

Welcome to the end of empire gang.

13 June 2011

Caspani lets everybody pretend to be a gangster

Oh Lord. I gave a talk in New York last week about blogging and Twitter and I was making the point that being controversial isn't always a bad thing. Someone asked how to do that without offending a potential client or vendor and I responded that she should look for Italian furniture developed for the Russian market.

I hate to play to national stereotypes, but some of them fit. Almost to make my point for me, Italian manufacturer Caspani just released a collection of chairs they're calling the Regal Armchair Throne.

Again, oh Lord.

Do any of these things actually sell? Who would have such a thing in his or her home?

Again, I hate to play to national stereotypes but I'm going to pretend I'm German and just go with it. DirectTV's Gregor should have one of these.

07 April 2011

I don't get the skull thing

Skull motifs, which were once the sole province of biker bars and pirate costumes, have gone mainstream. Never mind that they should have stayed in the biker bars.

I can't open a catalog or a magazine without seeing them. It's one thing to see an Ofrenda on the Day of the Dead but the mainstreaming of skull decor has taken on an American-ized scrubbing and the result is a complete break with the actual significance of a skull.

They're a warning sometimes and historically, they were a kick-you-in-the teeth reminder of everyone's  mortality.

The whole thing mystifies me. However, the French design studio Pool is going to release the following plastic chair at the Milan Furniture Fair this month.

At first, I chalked it up to a de-contextualized skull to be used by the unthinking around their barbecues but then I learned its name. The name of this chair is Souviens Toi Que Tu Vas Mourir.

Extra points to whoever translates that name. I want one of these for the name alone!

05 April 2011

Mixed signals as a child leads to furniture design madness

Here's a cautionary tale. As a tale, it's completely made up and bears to resemblance to the life of furniture designer Maximo Reira, whose creations illustrate this story.

Once upon a time, a young boy was born to a set of loving, if confused, parents. The child's parents decided early on that they were going to be thoroughly new school when it came to parenting style. Their son would be able to eat what he wanted and if he ended up a finicky eater who subsisted on chicken nuggets so be it. They decided that when their son had an opinion on any subject under the sun, he could voice that opinion. They decided that when their little darling committed an anti-social act they would refrain from administering the beatings he so richly deserved. No, instead they would banish him to a time out.

So that their son wouldn't feel bad during these times out, they decided that he would take his time outs on a purpose-built bench covered with friendly animals.

After all, just because he made a bad choice didn't mean he had to suffer.

Well, sure enough, their son grew up a finicky eater who interrupted adult conversations and developed an unnatural attachment to furniture shaped like a variety of animals. That he was alone in his attachment never occurred to him because he was raised to believe he was the center of the universe. So, deprived of a degree of self-knowledge and self-restraint necessary to cut it in the world, he started producing these furniture designs.

Parents: Please send your kids clear signals and set real boundaries to avoid a future where all furniture will look like this.

03 April 2011

Further proof that US suburbia is an unsustainable dystopia

In a world where this is the reality of far too many kids in the west.

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And in a country where government is seen increasingly as the root of all evil.

And in a world where the First Lady's involvement in childhood obesity prevention is a political handicap comes this.

A suburban, pseudo-governmental Homeowner's Association Volusia County, FL has decided that it's in the best interest of its residents to ban kids playing outside without adult supervision .

The subdivision in question is Persimmon Place in Edgewater, FL and in addition to banning kids' playing outside unsupervised, they seek to ban skateboarding, playing games like tag or using loud toys. [source]

Every scofflaw who lets his or her kids play outside without adult supervision or who dares to let those kids play tag will face a $100 fine. Persimmon Place is holding a final hearing on 4/27 and for the life of me I can't find a link to that HOA. If anybody does, leave the link in the comments below, I'd love to give them a piece of my mind.

I grew up in a small town without the benefit of an HOA. My grass-stained summers and impromptu games of Kick the Can or Fox and Geese gave me a foundation I rely on to this day. Those neighborhood, spontaneous games are how I learned that other people lived lives different from mine and it didn't matter. We were seven, or 10 or 12 and all that mattered was that we were kids and it was summer and the nighttime world was ours.

Without a doubt, our parents were thrilled with the fact that we were outside and not underfoot. We were outside running off our extra energy and best of all they were inside, alone, and with the rare chance to reconnect. None of us were obese either and the idea of us kids staying in and watching TV was unthinkable.

What kind of a neighborhood bans kids playing outside? Has an orderly, suburban facade really grown so important and oppressive that kids don't matter?

Hey unhappy suburbanites here's a hint. Come back to the urban cores. We may value such foreign concepts as diversity and sustainability, but we also embrace the idea of kids being allowed to be kids. The vacant lot behind my house is the neighborhood soccer and all-purpose field and those kids are out there 'til all hours. Nobody threatens their parents with fines and the kids get to run off all their extra energy and they learn how to get along. Nobody cares that Jean-Luc's parents were Haitian refugees or that Angus's parents are professors at the university. So what if Alain's from France and Pilar was born in Spain? Who cares  Mohammed's family is from Libya and Darrell's mom was born in the 'hood. All that matters is that they're the same age and Jim (whose dad is a city maintenance guy) has a soccer ball.

04 March 2011

I'm not that innocent

This is the Innocenza, also by Andre de Benedetto for Desart. I have to say that innocent is about the last thing that comes to mind after looking at this thing.

Here's the gobbledygook description from the catalog:
Innocenza is a chair that with its harmonious and welcoming form, is a warm lap to curl up in, a soutane you can hide under for a while.

Its lines are similar to the Luigi Filippo furniture of the late 1800s, but the iconographic reference that immediately comes to mind is without a doubt the bohemian atmosphere of a joyous Moulin Rouge.

Innocenza, in fact, is immediately female. A joyous and liberal ballerina in her pirouettes, who does not hide a resolutely intriguing soul.

The lace is provocative. A sensual guêpière beautifies it, so that it’s almost as though you can see a slender bust below the neck that flows down to the concave and fluid back.
Here's the "fluid" back it references.

Look, I'm no prude but really?

Ummmm. A sea urchin? Really?

This chair by Andrea de Benedetto for Desart is supposed to be inspired by a sea urchin.

Maybe it's just me but it looks more like a gunshot wound. Several gunshot wounds.

23 February 2011

One more reason to avoid Anthropologie. Make that three.

A while back, an intrepid member of the K&RD Community (it was Sharon) sent me an alert to another offense being perpetrated by the craven minds at Anthropologie. Tell me, in what universe is this an attractive and desirable sofa?

What would possess someone to produce a sofa like this and then have the gall to charge $6000 for it? Look at these charming details.

This one's even worse than the green one.

I suppose it's some kind of Haunted House chic.

Even worse than the sofas is this chaise.

Let's zoom in on the quality construction. Remember, this thing sells for nearly four grand.

These pieces were designed by Clarke and Reilly, a London-based husband and wife design team. Apparently, Clarke and Reilly bring their moth-eaten sensibilities to everything they touch. The copy traveling through the internet alongside these pieces is full of the usual, meaningless buzzwords. "Organic," "vintage," "natural," they're all here and they're harnessed craftily to disguise the fact that these are some ugly pieces of furniture.

Look, I get it that there's room for everybody's sensibilities in the world and I understand being provocative. However, when I see something like this, I think what's really going on is a cynical worldview at work. It's almost as if people design things that are purposely ugly and expensive just to see how gullible people really are. I get it too that I may be completely out to lunch here but you tell me. Would you allow any of these pieces near your home?

11 January 2011

Express your love with a bad $20 copy

If your idea of a love story is this miserable couple,

And this really beautiful sapphire ring sums it all up for you, I think you'll be interested in something being hawked on TV these days.

Maybe generation two of that story sends you off to la la land.

Or maybe it's just seeing that ring again that's causing all that thrill.

No matter because you can have a dead ringer for it (is that a double pun?) for $19.99.

Never mind that the original cost £30,000 in 1981 and is now priceless, this ingenious copy will fool all of your friends and social lessers that you are, indeed, royalty.

06 January 2011

Go ahead, you know you want to be on Design Star

If you're a man and like to take off your shirt on TV.

If you're a woman who likes to take "artistic" mug shots.

If your qualification to be a designer consists of having once moved your mother's sofa.

If the idea of turning out offenses like this is your idea of a good time.

If having three, angry HGTV-lebrities tearing down your very existence is your idea of fun.

If you can cry on cue and are willing to have every embarrassing moment filmed over a four week period slapped on national (and international) TV.

If after all that and against all common sense, you win because you look "interesting," are you willing to star in a bad HGTV show of your very own? One shown during off, off, off hours and so poorly produced that you'll never be able to work in TV again?

If you can answer yes to all of these questions than you are qualified to apply to be on HGTV's next season of Design Star. Godspeed.

17 December 2010

So Zuckerberg's Time Magazine's Person of the Year. Big Whoop.

In case you've been living under a rock, Time Magazine just named Mark Zuckerberg as 2010's person of the Year. So now the founder of Facebook joins such luminaries as 1935's Haile Selassie, 1938's Adolf Hitler, 1939's Josef Stalin, 1942's Josef Stalin, 1957's Nikita Khrushchev, 1965's Gen. William Westmoreland, 1971's Richard Nixon, 1979's Ayatollah Komeini, 1995's Newt Gingrich, 2000's George W. Bush, 2004's George W. Bush and 2007's Vladmir Putin. Time's Person of the Year roster goes back to 1927 and it reads as much like a rogue's gallery as it does a hall of superheroes.

Predictably, the chattering class of the blogosphere hailed Zuckerberg and Facebook as the greatest thing since sliced bread. Well, I don't think it's the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Don't get me wrong, Facebook changed and is changing the way people use the internet. In a lot of ways, Facebook brought the social web to the masses. That's a huge achievement.

But Zuckerberg and Facebook are standing on some very broad shoulders and before too long, somebody else will come along to alter the fabric of the internet once again.

In 1979, my dad invented a modem. We had a computer at home and every once in a while, we'd call a telephone number in New Jersey. Once connected, we'd set the telephone receiver in the cradle of the modem and we'd log onto with something called The Source. The Source had weather updates and bulletin boards and was an early, early form of the civilian internet. We thought it was the greatest thing since sliced bread.

A little while later, modems improved and got faster. By the early '80s, you didn't need to dial a telephone anymore and my first e-mail address came to me through a little something called CompuServe.

Everybody thought CompuServe was the greatest thing since sliced bread.

In 1993, I was trailblazing user of something called America Online. Back then, AOL didn't have a graphic interface, it was all text. In about 1994, AOL came out with a graphic interface and it was like nothing I'd ever seen.

By 1999, AOL owned the internet it seemed. You couldn't be cool in 1999 if you didn't have an e-mail address that ended in Everybody thought it was the greatest thing since sliced bread.

And now we're in the era of Facebook. Just like AOL though, Facebook is a walled garden, a dead end. It pulls people in and keeps them there, sequestered from the rest of the internet. It's Facebook's Achilles heel. And like AOL before it, something else will come along to take its place.

When that something arrives, everyone will think it's the greatest thing since sliced bread.