Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Unhappy Houses

For years the magazine Dwell has featured modern houses, or "dwellings," as they're called, in issue after issue. Now Dwell's vast photo archive has inspired the wonderful Unhappy Hipsters blog, which pairs photos of modern houses with new captions reflecting existential angst and isolation.

It became their routine.
d so the evenings stretched out
before him: still, gray, and gravel-strewn.
(Photo: Dean Kaufman, Dwell, November 2006)

No time to marvel at his sheer luck: Larry just ran.
( Dwell, July 2009)

In her Psychology Today blog Design and the Mind, designer Ingrid Fetell writes about the psychological effects of minimalist spaces in Unhappy Hipsters: Does Modern Architecture Make Us Gloomy.

Fetell looks at the characteristics of much modern architecture -- "clean, often angular lines, neutral colors in tones of gray and beige, bare materials, and a general sense of spareness and minimalism" -- and wonders if they are inherently threatening to the human psyche:
"Delight and joy are primally connected to wellness, and wellness in nature is lush, plump, vibrant, and bountiful. Throughout our evolution, these were the aesthetics that signaled a good place to settle — one that provided adequate water, food, and shelter to sustain life. The matte, bare surfaces beloved of modernists signal something else entirely. I can't help but think there must be something primal within us that understands such stripped down spaces as inhospitable — the emotional equivalent of dry desert, or fallow fields."