When we first started witnessing the emergence of a retro-future aesthetics with shiny plastics, curves, lack of corners, neon-lighting and rounded-edged parallelograms, it seemed, to us anyway, to be a playful realization of kitsch 50s and 60s product design and architecture.... It's happening everywhere: ATM machines at Barclays Bank has signs that label them "Hole In The Wall", cinemas squeeze their names to things like "vue" even everyday chain-pubs have this retro wallpaper all over them to try to make them cool without any understanding of why the bars they copied their look from ever used it in the first place.

There’s something about the paradox of being an island in the center of the globe’s crossroads that makes British design on one hand defiantly independent yet on another wonderfully intwined with the pulse of the rest of the world. But on our last trip to London we were forced to reconsider what we felt about British design. This all started when we saw this entrance to this government building – a retro-futuristic pod. We just stood there and wondered, “Why?”

A shift has happened in British design which has led to the ironic, reflective and cheesy to be considered good design. When we first started witnessing the emergence of a retro-future aesthetics with shiny plastics, curves, lack of corners, neon-lighting and rounded-edged parallelograms, it seemed, to us anyway, to be a playful realization of kitsch 50s and 60s product design and architecture. It was cheesy but it was fun because of the irony these things. Somehow in Britain, what was considered ironic is now considered good design that should be pasted to everything and anything. It’s happening everywhere: ATM machines at Barclays Bank has signs that label them “Hole In The Wall“, cinemas squeeze their names to things like “vue” even everyday chain-pubs have this retro wallpaper all over them to try to make them cool without any understanding of why the bars they copied their look from ever used it in the first place.

PREMIUM SUBSCRIPTION CONTENT
This content is available for Premium Subscribers only.
Already a subscriber? Log in