Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Strand East

How many frustrated white people does it take to assemble a town with hex keys and mashed potato board? We'll soon find out. The Swedish retailer, IKEA, is building an entire neighborhood in East London. I'm just hoping that the buildings will have names like Linberpank and Krud.

It's called The Strand East. I'm not sure why. I'm not going to bother to Bablefish it. I'm sure it's a nonsensical Scandanavian word. It couldn't possibly, simply mean "strand."

Beyond the absurd imagery that comes from an entire town made out of IKEA furniture, the endless jokes you could make about quality of construction, the most humorous quality might be in the cliched rhetoric that reads straight from the Yupster's Bible (Yes, I combined Hipsters and Yuppies).

As if a town built entirely by the capital of obscure mainstream wasn't enough to appeal to the organic breast milk ice cream eating British trendies, the town will be devoid of cars and operate on hydroelectric power. Its most entertaining feature might be the organically shaped "creative zone intended for creative-minded businesses." In other words the designers had some space left over and didn't know what to do with it so they filled it in with some buzz words.

An open, organically shaped public space? Isn't that the same Rogerian philosophy that gave us all the UFO buildings built in the 60s and 70s? Those circular schools with one hallway that had no beginning or end? I've literally had nightmares about Wynne Hall at Longwood College. 

Every room was "organic" as to allow for "creative and collective debate." You know what they found out? People don't like organic spaces. They like sitting in a row in a square room with a clearly defined front and back. Even in art class. 

You know what you get in one undefined organic "creative space" without a leader? You certainly don't get "creative-minded businesses." You get a crowd of angry, unbathed idiots talking about how great anarchy is. 

Oh, and I almost forgot. This throw back to our bat shit crazy mid-Century attempts to rewrite a concept as old as homo-sapiens - civilization - wouldn't be complete without some completely Jetsonian, quasi-futuristic oddities. 

Like the moving sidewalks and push button kitchen cabinetry the 1950s promised we'd see everywhere by now, The Strand East will remove trash from its units with a series of vacuum tubes a lot like the ones used at your bank's drive through window. Hang on to your animals and small children. Sometimes it's just easier to take out the trash yourself.

The one good thing about IKEAville is it's cheap, and when it melts in the rain, its entire replacement comes in a box designed specifically to fit into your 1988 Saab 900.

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