tisdag 3 april 2012

Lost icon

London Transport route 83 at Alperton

For 45 years these vehicles were iconic for London. Whether the "Borisbus" can achieve the same status remains to be seen. Design icons cannot be created out of nothing but require a particular integrity on the part of all of those involved in the design process. Unfortunately, since the 1980s, design has become an adjunct of marketing, being reduced to little more than styling. Once that happens, the possibility of creating a genuine design icon is slight.

The danger is that design icons are one of the means by which society creates the narrative about itself which helps it to understand what it is. If it cannot do this, the end product is a widespread and generalised sense of alienation and unfocussed discontent. This is why the privatisation of the Post Office is going to be so damaging - as an ancient institution like the church, it is part of the cultural landscape. Destroy it at society's peril. Sadly, the intellectual pygmies now running Britain have no inkling of what they are meddling with.

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