Full Steam Ahead?

On Luxury


The most fundamental of human needs: shelter, modesty, and sustenance, through beautification and attention to detail, are elevated to the realm of some of the most enlightened pursuits of humanity. As a notion of space, they become the fashionable milieu: the hotel, the boutique, and the restaurant. As a notion of objects, they become consumable products: architecture, fashion, and cuisine.

Luxury is based upon a visual language of signifiers, and an audience is required for their existence. These associations concretize into myths when placed in the centre of the popular consciousness – physically, on a public stage for the display of wealth. This is the channel through which the socially privileged can interact with the city. The way a place acquires the aura of desirability depends on the balance between exclusivity and accessibility. The institutions of consumption, display, and entertainment are the tools for the reinforcement and dissemination of this aura. The architecture of these elite enclaves is the driving force of the sensory experience to a city.

The movies of the golden age of Hollywood captured the time when playgrounds of the nouveau riche were being established. Cote d'Azur, Rome, and New York, acquired unprecedented respectability and reverence through these injections of Hollywood glamour. "To Catch a Thief", "La Dolce Vita", and "Breakfast at Tiffany's", have sustained appeal because they fuel dreams of escape or the allure of self-transformation. That is why these films deal with an outsider's impression of luxury; a legendary heterotopia and the assault to gain access into it. These films are used to triangulate the key components of the architectural discord in motion, the transformation of luxury from a space of manners to a system of possessions. The built form proves that luxury has a format, bounded in space and time.


1. Embellishment
-From basic needs to elevated pursuits

1.a.Spaces of Expenditure
-The fashionable milieu
1.b.Consumable Products
-Pecuniary emulation

2. Luxury and the City
-Visual inclusiveness, physical exclusiveness
-Social and geographical mobility

3. The Change
-From a space of manners to a system of possessions

4. Cinema
-Script and footnotes
-Actual, faux, and recreated
-A fusion of horizons


No comments: