Everybody talks about China. How much do I know about China? What are the first associations I have with the country?
It is a big piece of land with an old history and a massive world population. They love their food and they live to work. The country had its cultural revolution under the leadership of Mao Zedong where the traditional art, craft and literature had to be destroyed to create a new, equal society. So far, for years anything that was ‘Made in China’ meant poor quality and mass production. It’s kind of still the case … Today everyone wants to trade with China, some even see the country as an economic and military threat.
I really wasn’t sure will I have enough to write about before I started my research on Chinese design. How wrong was I! Seems, I have found material for a string of posts.
Ai WeiWei is Chinese most famous, provocative, contemporary, multidisciplinary artist and an activist. The guy is a living legend, went through a lot of hardship dealing with Chinese authorities. His work reflects on social issues with an emphasis on violations of human rights. He has a great compassion to most vulnerable people.
Le Bon Marche department store in Paris, featured in January 2016, Ai WeiWei exhibition called ‘Child’s Play’ a creation of mythological creatures using an old technique that involves stretching silk or paper over bamboo frames. The exhibition was inspired by Chinese antiquity legends and fairy tales, written by Shan Hai Jing.
Sadly, the artist could not read the stories as a child as it was totally forbidden at the time in China. During Mao Zedong ruling the intellectual property had to be destroyed with an idea of creating a different society. Society cut off from the past, roots, traditions, arts and crafts.
‘CHILD’S PLAY’ EXHIBITION
The exhibition features refugees clothes and shoes collected on the shore of Greece. Clothes are presented in a desirable way, placed in a trendy store created by Ai WeiWie. Wall is covered with images of refugees gathered from social media.
But we should have one Goddess and it should be the nature. Inspiring and unique images full of shapes, scents, colours and sounds are like free gifts undervalued, invisible, unnecessary.Nature gives back what has received. It is either going to be a dull, destructed life, with no spirit and hope or the utopian version of it. Do take care of your Goddess, always where ever you are.
Only recently I started to pay more attention to the Dublin’s architecture and the facades of the buildings even though I have been living here for many years now. It is hard to keep the head up when walking through Dublin’s streets as they are very active and busy most of the time. When in town we all have to pay more attention to what’s in front of us rather than what’s above us.
EVOLUTION OF VISUAL MERCHANDISING THROUGH THE HISTORY OF EUROPE AND AMERICA
THE FIRST AWARENESS OF SOPHISTICATED MARKETING TECHNIQUES, 1780
Soho, London, 1883
LE BON MARCHE, PARIS, 1838
THE ARRIVAL OF DEPARTMENT STORES
TECHNOLOGY ALLOWS DEPARTMENT STORES TO USE PLATE GLASS WINDOWS, MACY'S, NY, 1862
EUGENE ATGET DOCUMENTS PARISIAN WINDOWS LATER INSPIRATION FOR SURREALIST ARTISTS
The customer is always right
HARRY GORDON SELFRIDGE BRINGS RADICAL CHANGES TO THE MARKETING TECHNIQUES IN THE STORES, 1890
High Street, England, 1895
Selfridges Store, 1909
REVOLUTIONARY METHODS OF DISPLAY AND MARKETING
Selfridge Store, London, 1909
SELFRIDGE MARKETING METHODS ARE SPREAD ACROSS EUROPE
Pierre Imans, 1920's
LEADING MANNEQUINS MANUFACTURE
1920's wedding dresses display
WERTHEIM DEPARTMENT STORE
WASHINGTON D.C. 1928
WINDOW DISPLAY FOR ATWATER KENT RADIOS
MODERNISM MOVEMENT ARRIVED IN AMERICA, SAKS STORE, NY, 1929
HOLLYWOOD GLAMOUR INFLUENCED WINDOW DISPLAY, 1920-1930's
ELECTRICITY ALLOWED TO LIGHT UP WINDOWS AT NIGHT TIME
BONWIT TELLER COMMISSIONED SALVADOR DALI TO PRODUCE SERIES OF WINDOW DISPLAY, 1936
SALVADOR DALI WINDOW DESIGN, BONWIT TELLER, 1936
Berlin, Germany, 1933
WWII - EUROPE IN CHAOS
1950's Desirable Life Style
FUTURE HOMEMAKERS, STYLE EQUALS FUNCTION
New York, 1950's
AMERICAN INDUSTRIAL DESIGN CREATES MASS CONSUMPTION
ANDY WARHOL BRINGS FRESH IDEAS TO WINDOW DISPLAY, BONWIT TELLER, NY, 1961
ARTIST JASPER JOHN'S WORKS AS WINDOW DRESSER, BONWIT TELLER, NY
NEW CONCEPT - LIVE MODELS IN WINDOW DISPLAYS, 1970's
Biba Store, London, 1973
POSTMODERNISM, WINDOW DISPLAYS INFLUENCED BY ELECTRONICS
Aishti Christmas window
Images linked to the original source click to find out more
The most creative period in the history of Visual Merchandising seems to be the early 20th century until the 1960’s in America, in Europe until the 1940’s. WWII created so much chaos there was no room for creative ideas.
The time when the skill of window design was at its lowest creative point happened between 1970’s-1990’s which is odd considering it was a very creative period in music, fashion and cinematography.
Technology had an impact from the early stages, at first, it was plate glass window then electricity, then air conditioning. Today internet stimulates the shopping experience and it is the greatest competition for the traditional form of retail. Early 2000 is the start of e.commerce. The competition forced many retailers to be very creative – again!
In my opinion, high street retail stores have not changed much since Mr Selfridge revolution. There has been nothing new added to make the experience more pleasurable or even adventures. Stores look the same, not even across the street but across the globe. No personality just globalised pure business in the same dated uniform.
Even though I write about Visual Merchandising I personally do not really like traditional shopping (except Flea Markets) I find it a tiring and stressful experience. My reasons: some stores are just too big, there is too much to choose from (yes, that can be a problem), I do not like noise in general so I do not enjoy the loud music played. I have to walk up the stairs (when there is no escalator or lift) but I’m already walking through the streets from one store to another, so please do not make me walk even more. I’m tired I want to rest on a nice soft couch that is not here!
Well, I am big time e.commerce because I can shop online in the middle of the night in my pyjamas, I can drink a coffee while browsing, I do not have to rush to make a decision, I do not have to queue or move around disoriented shoppers. I can read the customer review or search through categories all that while listening to my favourite music.
It will be interesting to see how the traditional retailers and e.commerce will evolve in the future. Both still have plenty to work on as online shopping is very practical it does lack the creative side. There is no big window display where a potential customer could go… ‘Ah Cool’!
Additional note: While doing my research I have noticed how much better the images were archived up till the 1960’s. Most of the images from that period have a date and place provided. Between 1960’s up till 2000 was hard to find well-archived images. It does get better after 2000 … A lesson learned – I will try to organise my images better too.
Sadly Dublin is not the most friendly town for the cyclists. It is an old town and well, unfortunately, today roads cannot be stretched to gain more space for bikes. You really have to pay any attention here while cycling among the busy traffic. One can laugh at it as it can be either hilarious or very frustrating – depending on the mood … a bit like watching Monty Python.
I start with a question … Was there ever an earthquake or a tsunami that went through Dublin?
Cracked tiles on the pavement are moving under pedestrian’s feet as walking by. Like a broken eggshell that has not been sealed and probably never will be. Try not to lose your balance and you be fine.
There are also holes in the pavement! The same pavement that during weekends hosts alcohol’s connoisseur often supported on high heels. Those holes are totally unexpected, surprises – I prefer to call them as it is a better word than a – trap. A ‘surprise holes’ left open from a construction worker. Best avoided at night time.
There are splashes of concrete on the ground! Concrete is now bulging from the surface turning into miniature hills or layers of melting ground created by volcanic lava. Once there must have been an intention to ‘fix the problem’ but with the contrary result. Today they look like embedded prehistorical animals, watching pedestrians like crocodiles watch a prey on the river banks. Wait till they catch you!
To be fair it is not that bad, in fact, mostly it is fine (or did I just get use it?) – sadly the problems never seem to be fixed, just left to evolve in its neglect. Guess it makes the cyclist feel more alive!
But eh … shure that will do …
Photographs were taken on Camden Street, Rathmines and Rathgar.
We were given a piece of mannequin each, it was either just the head or an upper body or head with an upper body. I can not remember today what styles we could choose from except the one I have chosen to follow called One Woman Army. Because I was given un upper body of a male I slightly changed the trend to One Man Army.
All our mannequins were in a pretty bad state covered in an artwork by previous year students. I had to give mine shiny spray treatment.
ONE MAN ARMY
The main materials for making the piece was pasta penne and a feather. Also strings, gold acrylic paint, bits of fabric, elastic band.
Inspiration Military&Tribal Culture
The inspiration for my pasta jewellery piece came from military-style uniform and Maasai tribal accessories. I wanted to mix more of a formal style with something that is considered more of a primitive style, yet very passionate and courageous.
View the rest of the work created by students of Visual Merchandising, DIT College, Dublin, 2014