Sunday, March 18, 2012

Fuck Your Impractical Hipster Room Decorations

That the photo blog Fuck Your Noguchi Coffee Table has as many followers as it does proves conclusively that other people like making fun of hipsters as much as I do. Maybe more.

By posting the worst examples of ultra-hip interior decorating, Fuck Your Noguchi Coffee Table sends a clear message that it’s not cool to copy designs that you saw on the internet, it’s not cool to buy quirky old things when you’re under thirty-five, and it’s not cool to own a terrarium. Actually, it’s pretty ridiculous to do all of those things, and the more of its bland abominations you look at, the clearer the uninspired repetition of fashion clich├ęs becomes. Here’s another example:

Ignoring the dangerously low-hanging chandelier for a moment, take a look at this picture. At first glance, it may appear interesting, aesthetically pleasing, unique, etc, but then look closer. What is this a picture of? Stacks of books on a table. The whole table. This presents the question of why the occupants of this apartment have chosen to render useless a perfectly good table that could otherwise have been used for eating, card-playing, building model airplanes, spontaneous after-dinner lovemaking, or blueprint examination. This may appear to be a perfectly logical way to display one’s book collection (as one might display an athletic trophy or a soda bottle from an exotic country) until one considers that books meant to be opened and read, and the whole purpose of vertically storing books spine-outward on a bookshelf is so they can be easily removed and used for this purpose. If books are stacked one on top of another, removing one for reading becomes a tedious exercise as one must either slide the uppermost books to one side or awkwardly move the upper portion of the stack into a separate stack as one attempts to retrieve the desired book. And this is made more difficult by there being a fucking vase thing on top of the books. How is anyone supposed to read anything on that table without accomplishing a minor feat of acrobatics?

The stacks of books epitomizes my problem with these designs: they stress looks over practicality. For the people who took these photos, books are meant to be looked at, not read; vintage typewriters are meant to be admired, not used (we have computers for that); and oversized taxonomic illustrations are meant to provide rooms with character, not actual information.

I prefer rooms that look lived in, imperfectly designed, and even a little messy. I feel more comfortable in them. If a room looks like something out of a magazine cover, I feel as if I’ve wandered into a place I don’t belong, as if my being there has thrown off the intricate balance that the designer hoped to achieve. (There are no people in the Fuck Your Noguchi Coffee Table photos.) An ideal room need not be curated to achieve a desired result; it should evolve naturally through the objects we bring to it because those objects mean something to us or just happened to catch our eye. That's a look that can't be faked.


The Roving Home said...

Nice post, but you utilized the trendiest hipster word of them all: curate. I plan on writing a post detailing my role as a curator of my own pathetic life, since this concept is all the rage these days.

Anonymous said...

You obviously don't know many hipsters because that room isn't hippster in the slightest. The stuffy and over decorated look is not very hipster at all. Hipster rooms tend to be more bohemian. More $10 mirror from a thrift store, and less $10,000 mirror from an auction house.

Anonymous said...

P.S. I don't like rereading books so I think I'll store them any way I want.

Ian said...

"An ideal room need not be curated to achieve a desired result; it should evolve naturally through the objects we bring to it because those objects mean something to us or just happened to catch our eye."

@The Roving Home: In the above sentence, I chose the word "curate" to contrast the hipster viewpoint of a room with my own ideal room. Hipster rooms are curated, non-hipster rooms evolve. Also, for my thoughts on the word "utilize," check out some of my posts with the "Bad Writing is Funny" tag.

@Anonymous: "Hipster" is one of those words that people use a lot in reference to others, but rarely about themselves. If someone else does it and I don't like it, they could be a hipster. Hell, some people probably think I'm a hipster because I wear glasses with plastic frames. Thus, I would argue that the definition of hipster is broader than the one you suggest.

Also, while I don't have the time to reread all of the books I'd like, I do have occasional inclinations to find a specific passage or section in one of my favorites, and plan to reread others later on. Stacking books in an inaccessible fashion sends a clear message that the owner is interested in neither of these things.

Anonymous said...

Great post but somebody just plagiarised your entry.

Ian said...

Thanks for the tip, anonymous stranger.

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