Johanna Blakley

Media | Entertainment | Fashion

Dwelling on Design

Bladeless fans, jackets that function like mobile homes, good-looking toilets, chairs made with zippers and coconut fibers, a guy in espadrilles  . . . these were the more exciting things I encountered at the Dwell on Design show at the Los Angeles Convention Center this weekend, but I have to say, I had hoped for more.

The most excitement I saw anywhere on the showroom floor was among men who were ecstatic about a showerhead mirror combo. Not exactly the killer app I was imagining. Lots of people seemed to be charmed by the “afro toilet brushes” (yes, a toilet brush that looks like a PERSON with an afro). I guess these people are a bit less PC than I thought they’d be . . .

I let a design-savvy friend of mine know that I was pretty disappointed — no aha! moments exactly — and she said, “Yeah, Dwell covers what’s now, but they don’t do tomorrow.” Who does, I asked? She muttered, “Wouldn’t that be nice to know,” but I think she was holding out on me.

On the upside, the place was full of surprisingly happy hipsters: guys who seemed comfortable with their metrosexuality (note the espadrilles) and scrawny women wearing comfy flats and, well, barely anything else, despite the frigid air conditioning. I figured they were  fleeing muggy studios in Silver Lake.  

The seminars were well-attended: I could barely get a seat at a panel on sustainable landscaping in LA (at least 75% of the audience was female.) It was brief but informative: one thing I learned that I now feel I should have already known is that, among the sustainable living evangelists among us, we must include the libertarians and Tea Party types who are desperate to get off the grid. These people are anything but your Obama-loving Prius drivers. They despise big government and they plant drought resistant plants so that they can more easily disconnect from city water services, and, by extension, “The Man.” Some of them are surely getting ready for the second coming, and if you want to join them, better pull up that lawn.

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