These 1940s “feature matches” are violent, racist, and decorated beyond function. (Photos by Frank Kelsey)
Ben Marks of Collectors Weekly says: "Lisa Hix has just finished an interview with London-based author and design critic Stephen Bayley, who spoke with her about Ugly: The Aesthetics of Everything. In our piece, the two discuss the intensely subjective nature of the things we perceive as being beautiful or ugly."
Ugliness is also surprisingly hard to design on purpose, as Bayley discovered both teaching and speaking with architecture students. “If you give a class of architecture students a project, saying ‘Please design an ugly building,’ they actually find that difficult. It’s very difficult to create ugliness, although you wouldn’t believe it by walking around in any big city. Ugliness often is just an accident, but it’s often utterly fascinating.”
Reading Ugly, it’s not too difficult to suss out Bayley’s personal preferences: He’s all about clean lines, right angles, and functionality; he finds neutral colors and the natural tones of wood more tasteful than bright hues or shiny things. He’s got no use for elaborate glass paperweights, loathes taxidermy and all Victorian hobbies that attempt to capture and catalog nature, finds tattoos tacky, and has no patience for mid-Century kitsch relating to Elvis, Vegas, or tiki bars—things like aloha T-shirts, souvenir mugs, or velvet paintings.
“I’m aesthete at heart,” confesses Bayley, who also published a book called Taste: The Secret Meaning of Things in 1992. “I’m one of those people, for good or for bad, who determine the value in anything by its appearance. People think appearance is superficial. I don’t. I think appearances matter, and actually the classical Greeks felt the same. They thought beauty had a moral character. That’s my fundamental view of the world. I can’t walk down the street and not be both exhilarated by beautiful cars and beautiful buildings and dismayed and depressed by ugly cars and ugly buildings. I am just one of those poor souls.”
Think You Know Ugly? Think Again
In 1979, the Duke of Lancaster — a cruise liner turned car ferry — was retired from service and moored at Llanerch-y-Mor, North Wales, where it was made over as a “Fun Ship,” whose car-deck was refitted as a coin-op arcade.
Jongha Choi’s Master’s thesis for Design Academy Eindhoven involved the creation of “De-dimension” furniture, which collapses into a flat, easily stored form when it’s not in use — but when it’s in its flat form, it looks like a perspective drawing of its expanded shape.
[My friend Peter Sheridan is a Los Angeles-based correspondent for British national newspapers. He has covered revolutions, civil wars, riots, wildfires, and Hollywood celebrity misdeeds for longer than he cares to remember. As part of his job, he must read all the weekly tabloids. For the past couple of years, he’s been posting terrific weekly […]
Jared Sinclair developed the RSS reader app Unread, which made $10,000 in its first 24 hours on the iOS market. And we’ve all heard the story of Flappy Bird developer Dong Nguyen, whose creation was reportedly earning $50,000 a day at the height of its 2013 explosion. While those are rare examples, they’re also testament to the […]
If you or your company’s IT system are besieged by black hat cyber attacks, an ethical hacker might be all that stands between crippling damage and a company’s long-term prosperity. It’s no wonder that the market for IT security specialists is exploding. Certification is the key – so learn the tenets of ethical hacking and get […]
Your laptop and mobile devices are top of the line…so why are you trotting out that raggedy decades-old suitcase when you go somewhere? Time to up your travel game with a complete 5-piece Herschel Travel Luggage bundle…and we’ll even give it to you for free!Of course, you’ve got to win the Ultimate Herschel Travel Bundle […]