I saw this image while browsing the consistently excellent ISO50 blog this morning and immediately recognized my favorite Sony WalkMan among a collection of beautifully obsolete design objects. I really couldn’t have framed my reaction to these things better than Scott Hansen so I’ll steal his words here:
So apparently there is this guyin Switzerland who either owns or has access to many of the most iconic product designs from the 60′s and 70′s. He also takes amazing pictures of them, and posts them in high resolution for us to enjoy / print. This man is a hero.
I always wonder though, would having these artifacts make me happy? Would being surrounded by the objects of my desire actually fulfill my need for order and beauty? Or would I obsess; constantly dusting and arranging them symmetrically on walnut desks made by George Nelson? Probably all of the above, but for now one can only dream.
Whenever I get to lusting over design like this I start thinking about the nature of appreciation. What abstract facet of the human condition allows us to seek and covet objects which may not necessarily provide any meaningful function or benefit our daily lives? I can’t tell you how many fellow designer’s homes I have visited to see various defunct or otherwise unused products neatly displayed on shelves, never again to serve their intended purpose. Why do we surround ourselves with these relics? Devices which through some perverse twist of fascination have been stripped of their intrinsic usefulness and rendered as some fetishized monument to our personal design sensibilities, gathering dust on a mantle.
That’s probably reading way to deep into things so I’m going to take the easy answer and say it’s simply the act of art appreciation. There is just something about the fact that these were originally designed as functional objects that throws a wrench into the whole concept of approaching them purely as works of art. At any rate, I want every single thing up there, in my house, now.
And in case you weren’t aware Scott also put out one of the best records of the year as Tycho for Ghostly.