Moral Duty

If yesterday I was hitting publish on what I intended to be the first part of an extended Christmas wish list, I have changed my mind on doing part two today. And remembered about a beautiful reading I had to go through for academical purposes, but ended up reading it for pure pleasure. The front cover is pictured below: "The Harvard Design School Guide To Shopping / Harvard Design School Project On The City 2". The biggest name to edit the book is Rem Koolhaas, together with some of his students. The book is about architecture, landscape, urbanism and last but not least human behavior, with special focus on what everyone thinks about this time of the year: shopping. What camp are you in: buy or save?

From the Taschen site: "During the years 1997 and 1998, Harvard's graduate students concentrated their studies on the phenomenon of shopping as the primary mode of urban life. As a generative engine of urbanization, shopping has become a defining element of the modern city, and, in many cases, the reason for its existence. Research for this project, targeting the United States, Europe, and Asia, focuses on retail technologies, marketing strategies, and the hybridization of retail and cultural/recreational environments."

1997-1998: would you say we are far away from what was described more than a decade ago? Not really. This is what we learn in architecture school: about shopping, environments and, of course, motivations. The thing is, all of these are the results of an addictive behavior. The book examines shopping for "intellectual comfort". Sounds familiar doesn't it?
Shopping is addictive in itself, but not only because of the products, but also because of the environments they are sold in. Air conditioning is an enemy from this point of view, because it creates an artificial environment in which we feel good, relaxed, cozy, and... more inclined to spend. The space dedicated to retail purposes is intentionally put up to increase cash-flow.

I am so curious to see if any of this present realities will change once a new decade starts. There's less than a month until then, but are we ready for it?

If this short subject description is not enough to motivate you finding out more, then I should probably tell you how excellently designed the entire book is. Just look at the cover once more. Wink.

Sweet treats,

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