There must be a word in the English language for when a thing is designed to look like another object with which it’s associated in some practical way, but we can’t find a suitable word. Take for example, this bicycle rack in Silver Lake, in Los Angeles. The rack is shaped like a set of bicycles. It’s a nice touch that makes an otherwise mundane, utilitarian piece of street furniture into an amusing part of the urban landscape. The bicycle shape of the rack communicates its purpose, making the rack easier to visually identify at a distance and thus the search for it that much easier. As for a suitable word, we suggest creating a new, more applicable word. Our suggestion: “resembladinger.” It’s a portmanteau we mashed up from the the words “resemble” and the old Germanic word “ding,” which means thing. We added an “-er” suffix for effect and to suggest it having a practical, tool-like quality. Any other suggestions? Let us know.
Our friend H.I., who lives in Tokyo, has “Imelda Marcos” syndrome when it comes to shoes. He owns more than 300 pairs and has even had custom footwear made for him. When a shoe-designer friend of his offered to make a pair of shoes for him and asked him what he liked, H.I. simply said “I like to wear boots.” The results were these cool, flat “boots for summer,” which are basically an ankle boot with parts of the leather trimmed in such a way that part of the foot is exposed. As these were just a custom prototype, you won’t find these in stores anytime soon. H.I. told us that he had kept these shoes unworn in his collection for four years and only started started wearing them this summer. – MI
Mayumi Ihara images. All rights reserved.
Can design be unintentional? Consider this house on Roma Court in Marina Del Rey, in Los Angeles. It’s wrapped in what appears to be a giant fumigation cover, and, within the context of the surrounding homes and adjacent bridge, it seems to work. But it works in a strange, unexpected way. It’s aesthetically pleasing, simple and temporary. It’s surprising how much you actually notice when you’re receptive to encountering the unexpected. The language of design can speak to us in many ways. – RB
Ryan Baum images. All rights reserved.