Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Getting the toothpaste back in the tube

In my no doubt peculiar view, an ebb-point in the recent history of industrial design of consumer goods was reached when, in one of those moments of pervasive group fashion that flourish like a secret underground fungal growth beneath the expressions of commercially creative people, it was silently agreed that the tops and caps of squeeze tube and plastic bottles should not be figured as discrete items but had to be formed as continuing projections of the form of the tube or bottle.

The benefits brought to us by this demonstration, if ever one were needed, that forms follows not function but form, are a greater consumption of plastic, the near impossibility of screwing caps back on almost depleted tubes, and the ability to stand bottles and, more importantly, tubes on their ends. The last has become almost necessary with tubes, since they have become mostly made of plastic not metal, in pursuit of the expression and use of the last contents of the tube - but only until the advent of the 3D printer produced tooth paste tube squeezer when we finally reach the sun-lit uplands of individual digital empowerment. However, that leaves unaffected the true reason for standing tubes on their ends, which is supermarket shelf display - as witnessed by the fact that labels are often printed that way up. But when we finally but everything online even that becomes redundant.

So will the tide ever turn? Is the pope a catholic? - they might ask in the pub bar. Or can you get the toothpaste back in the tube? Well, you could quite easily before the tube was made of plastic.

Monday, 22 July 2013

A modern miracle; Stalinism in Stratford

"a very alien place"
'"It should be like the surrounding neighbourhoods spilling in," she says. "The objective is that no one will ever know where the fence was." Given that the site is cut off on all sides by canals, railway cuttings and elevated roads – a secure island that made it particularly attractive to Olympic planners – this will be a struggle.'

'Despite all the blunders around the edge of the site, there are reasons to be optimistic. The communities within could yet be successful. But an uneasy fact remains: that building on the site of a global event – making workable streets from tarmac wastes and weaving housing around velodromes – is a difficult and expensive way of producing a good city. When it comes to building careful, generous places, do we really need the Olympics as an excuse?'