One Demographic? #NotAVariable
I have been having a real aversion to nostalgia lately. When I am around people engaging in it I find myself becoming grumpy and dismissive. Whether it is in the conversations my profession is having or when it occurs in the course of my new project, it is not a conversation I want to join. Miuccia Prada, when interviewed about the inspiration for her SS2018 menswear show, says we are living in a double world: one that is virtual and one that is real. Her interest in this double world is the dialog or no dialog between the two worlds. For me, the interest lies not only between virtual and real but other opposites, demographics or categories that when clung to seem to create nothing new except ever increasing distance between us.
I had the opportunity to attend an event last week sponsored by W Magazine's Who's Who in Instagram at Ian Schrager's Public Hotel in NYC. I was most excited about the concept behind the hotel and the experience that this 70 year old king of cool has created for me and the other citizens of New York. Dressed by Issey Miyake, I literally floated into the scene and remained in the clouds because every space in this glorious manifestation of innovation was a rich dialog between different worlds: acessible/luxury, digital/real, inside/outside, to name a few. With rooms starting at $150 per night in one of the hottest spots in the city, New Yorkers and guests are invited in to explore a hotel for the people. Quirky public spaces, inspired lighting designs and beautifully designed indoor and outdoor spaces do not suggest how they should be inhabited but rather invite you to decide that question.
Thinking about how people live right now (everyone has suitcases on wheels), nostalgia and bygone era trappings such as bellhops and concierges with uniforms, are replaced with iPad check-ins that send a barcode to your phone which lets you into your room and folks with T-shirts that say Public Advisors are available everywhere for questions or anything else you might need. Rather than room service there are chatbots that will put in your order but you must go to the elevator to pick it up. At any time of the day or night you can pick up your own food at the counter grocery store or if you so desire you can eat in the Public Kitchen, with a "public snapshot of New York" menu created by Jean George Vongerichten. There are public workspaces as well as a space for all permutations of public art. Re-editing in this modern way means addressing access. Rather than complain about how Airbnb is ruining the industry, Schrager thought about how hotels could extend all the things people like about Airbnb: affordability, digital arrangements, being embedded in a neighborhood and added a social aspect of a spirit lifting location in which to explore community. When asked in an interview if this was a hotel designed for millenials, Schrager's response was to say that was the most stupid idea he had ever heard. The best way to end this piece is to offer a quote from him which surely explains why I am such a fan. #NotAVariable