Sunday, October 31, 2010

THE NEXT NEW THING (PART 2)

Here it is: my prediction for the next new thing, the sweeping change that will alter everything in the next 10-20 years. It'll effect the way you dress, the way you speak, what you name your children, the kind of house you live in...everything. That sweeping change is........

...STEAM PUNK! I know, I know...you think Steampunk is a niche thing, something a few fans do at sci-fi conventions. Until recently I thought the same thing myself, but then I stumbled on the Steampunk sites on the net.

They're all over the place! Don't take my word for it; check them out for yourself. Check out the number of times it appears in design and architecture magazines. Check out the number of anime films and manga that are devoted to it. Check out the fan art.

 Don't be surprised if you wake up one day to discover that post-modern architecture has morphed into Victorian Steampunk (above). The two styles are more compatible than you might think. You can find a lot of hybrids right now.

Ordinary stores like Restoration Hardware and Ikea are carrying Pseudo-Steampunk lines. They don't call it that, but that's what it is.

This (above) is from Pottery Barn's Fall catalogue. It's an updated version of a Victorian living room, something Jules Verne would almost have found comfortable.

Make no mistake about it: Steampunk is in our future. It'll morph into a more pure form (above) with each passing year.

Eventually even your computer (above) will look like something out of George Pal's "Time Machine" movie.

Cars (above) will look a lot different. Inside they'll be high-tech for sure, but on the surface they'll resemble something your great grandfather might have seen when he was a kid.

Expect clothes (above) to change. Expect a return to etiquette. Far from resisting the new fashions, goths and emos will embrace them.

So that's my prediction for the not too distant future. Ignore it at your peril!

22 comments:

thomas said...

An early example of retro futuro "steampunk"Disney
and more recent <a href="http://images.businessweek.com/ss/06/07/wow_green/source/9.htm>Gherkin</a>

You may be right, unfortunately. The Jules Verne reference is on the mark.

Rooniman said...

I'm not sure if I'm looking forward to this kind of future...

Stephen Worth said...

When you say a return to etiquette, I KNOW your crystal ball is out of whack! We'd have to return to civility first before we could tackle politeness.

thomas said...

another image
FosterGherkin

Roberto Severino said...

Scary and fascinating. I've never heard of steam punk by the way, but a lot of the stuff you mentioned in the post sounds cold and stiff to me. Seems like the in the next two decades, stuffiness and pretentiousness are going to be the norm for the most part.

I wish you could have done a "Next New Thing" post for music as well. Most modern music, at least for me, is already bad on the ears and seems to be devolving every year into something worse. I can barely listen to almost anything on the radio without having my IQ dropped a few points.

Anonymous said...

I like the aesthetics of Steampunk but I'm not so sure about this. I think we'll definitely start to see computers become less visible and a move away from "modern" architecture and design.

My problem with Steampunk is the sort of people that are really into it, the anime obsessed, deviantart types just aren't my kind of people.
Lets put it this way, I would love to be friends with someone who owned antique record players read George Sand and Sherlocke Holmes etc. but I don't really want anything to do with someone who posts obsessively on steampunk messageboards. Talk to someone obsessed with Steampunk and instead of Oscar Wilde they are more likely to give you a rant on why video games are art. Also Tim Burton has kind ruined the whole Victorian, Alice in Wonderland, Tophat thing.

It's the difference between someone who tries to draw animals in a Bob Clampett style and a Furry.

There is also the whole "Williamsburg hipster wearing a tophat and moustache ironically" thing too. It's only awesome to dress like that if you are unaware it is possible to dress like that ironically. http://i.imgur.com/JjTyX.jpg http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/6560835/Gentlemen-of-Bacongo-Sir-Paul-Smith-on-shanty-town-dandies.html Those guys are awesome, guys wearing Care Bears t-shirts driving penny farthing bikes in Williamsbourgh aren't.

Pretty much I definitely hope that earthiness and real materials make a comeback in design and replace the soulless "minimalism" of Apple but not under the guise of "steampunk" and that whole scene which just sucks. The difference between Steampunk and Victorian design is the difference between Bram Stokers Dracula and Twilight.

Severin said...

Oh gosh I hope you're right. Any kind of style would be better than no style! Personally, I don't have the dough to cough up on faux-antique bar stools and mechanically spinning bow ties, but I may be able to save up for a top hat...

Really, I see nothing wrong with popular culture turning steampunk-ish. Style and etiquette are two things I'd like to see make a comeback. Your post implies that attention will be spent on the appearance of architecture and vehicles, which would the landscape would look far more interesting. The best part of all is that steampunk is meant to look old, so you know that all those steampunk-styled buildings will look great fifty years from now!

Jorge said...

It's too ornamental.

LearlessFeader said...

I think you have something there!

At least a Steampunk aesthetic would be warmer and more lovely than the depressing lines of the 60's era Futurism. (I remember the original design of Tomorrowland at Walt Disney World, just flat expanses of white concrete glaring the hot sun in my eyes. Yuk!)

Anyone ever notice a similarity between the designs for the props and sets of the David Lynch Dune movie and Steampunk?

Anonymous said...

I actually agree with most of your post and do hope that there is a victorian revival in interior design and architecture, not so much fashion just because it would be hard for people to sincerely pull off without roleplaying or being ironic. I just equate "Steampunk" with a very specific anime/gamer subculture whose adherents can be very tiring to deal with.

blakeaj said...

Any future where I can wear slacks instead of jeans is a future I can believe in!

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypd5txtGdGw#t=0m39s Unrelated but I thought you might find this interesting. Be interesting to try using this effect in animation.

Paul Penna said...

As a kid of 8, I became obsessed with "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" when it was released in 1954. Particularly the Nautilus, and even more particularly, Nemo's salon (the big room with the pipe organ). I wanted my bedroom to look like that, and tried as much as I could with any bric-a-brac I could scrounge, an old Victorianish love seat from a family friend, a half-worn out oriental rug and on and on. If I could have decorated the walls with big cast-iron ducts held together by enormous bolts, I would have. I guess I was a proto-steampunk at heart.

coolhand said...

there is a video game called fall out about a post-apocalyptic world where all the technology has a very steam punk feel

Anonymous said...

Actually Fallout is inspired by the 50's retrofuturist look.

Anonymous said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retro-futurism just from the pic you can see there is definitely a connection to steampunk. I'm more partial to the former cause of the great art deco qualities. Bioschock is another game heavily influenced by retrofuturism and art deco. I'm still more partial to retrofuturism than steampunk cause retrofuturism is bigger amongst graphic designers and classic cartoon lovers and Steampunk is bigger with the anime, geek culture, goth, industrial music scene

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Thomas: Wow! Interesting photos! The Nautilus model looks beautiful.

Rooni: Really? I resisted it at first, but I'm beginning to like it. Look at Thomas's link to the Disney site. That nautilus is pure steam punk, and you have to admit it's awe-inspiring.

Roberto: Yeah, it's bit cold. That's the post modern influence on Steampunk.

Fearless: I never thought about it til you mentioned it, but some of the 50s retro future diaramas are pretty minimal and bleak. Even so, I like the best of it.

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Anon (s): Great links!!! It looks like Retro Futurism is a varient of Steampunk, and will no doubt attract the same people. I think it's a great idea to make the vision of the future imagined by the past actually come true.

Paul: Nemo's salon: one of the great interior designs!

Jorge said...

Retro-futurism, quibbles about the terminology aside, is a much better style than steampunk. I wish I lived in Tomorrowland, don't you?

thomas said...

I think teenage boys bedrooms are steampunk... and they smell that way too

pappy d said...

It's all Retro-Futurism, isn't it?

John K. had a thought-provoking post a while back about electronic appliance design all becoming bland, black boxes. Modernism has always been reductionist (less is more).

Anonymous said...

Look who's caught up! Ain't it grand? I love steampunk more than I love warm tinned milk. How about a list of steampunk movies for the uninitiated? (You might have to explain what makes them punk.)