Architects and Their Tea

Two of the pre-eminent blob people have visited Sydney this year to give lectures. The first was Lynn, who seemed somehow involved with the House of the Future fiasco and the other was Lars, director of Dutch practice NOX.

They were both fascinating/infuriating talks and I had begun writing a long-winded philosophical treatise on each before I stopped. Making Problematic the Whatever of Whatever else, Gottrried, why a spline is more informed than a straight line, is not the domain of this website.

Sweeping statements, however, are the specialty of the house, the signature dish if you will, so I will say this:

The last time someone had to go to such pains to justify their architectural position was during the Po-Mo craze. Then it was architectural games of generating form from classical motifs, now it is architectural games of generating form from computational algorithms. Either way both were/are concerned primarily with external form and neither were interested in architectual ideas of space, urbanity and materiality and as a result both are reduced to window dressing.

As such, the most enduring artefact of the Post Modern era was the teapot and as signaled the death of modernism, the signaled the end of of PoMo. It is fair to say that an architectural movement can no longer be taken seriously when its principles are embodied in a whistling plastic bird on a stainless steel teapot.

The Blobs face a similar fate. Lynn has pre-empted this inevitable position by being hired by Alessi to design a new tea set. Granted others that have also been invited to design teapots this time around but the Chipperfield, Ito, Hadid etc. tea sets share a distinction form the Lynn tea set – they do not look identical to the particular architect’s buildings.

Greg Lynn’s teapot shows that the when your pony only has the one trick, it will be taken to all the kids parties, all the local fairs, made to strut its stuff until the locals get bored and direct their attention to the new distraction. Which will of course be the kid that can burp the entire alphabet. Backwards. In Yiddish. And then that kid will design a teapot and the cycle will continue.

Anyway, that’s my rant. If you disagree, click on the comments link below and let me have it….