Overcoming a Cruel Aesthetic

Sometimes, there is no place lower to go than the depths of a tasteless, public, aesthetic parading itself on the paving stones of public discourse as an ingenious iteration of inspiration — when the idea is really nothing more than visual vomit.  Today, I introduce you do the “Cloud Towers” — where Art-Meets-9/11-Terrorism-In-The-Sky in Seoul, South Korea:

MVRDV’s design takes the bridge concept to a new level by trying to emulate the appearance of a cloud wrapped around the buildings. It proposed calling the complex Cloud.

In a statement posted on its web site over the weekend, MVRDV said it “regrets deeply any connotations” that were evocative of 9/11 in its design.

“It is one of many projects in which MVRDV experiments with a raised city level to reinvent the often solitary typology of the skyscraper,” the firm said. “It was not our intention to create an image resembling the attacks nor did we see the resemblance during the design process. We sincerely apologize to anyone whose feelings we have hurt, it was not our intention.”

The absolute garishness of the Cloud Towers is only overshadow by the depths of its insensitivity in design.  I am quite certain there was a deliberate evocativeness in the architectural intention of the Cloud Towers to generate publicity and energy.  It doesn’t matter if the publicity is negative or if the energy is poisonous — the only thing that matters is getting the discussion fired up to promote, not the insult, but the designers of the idea.

The Cloud Towers prove we live in a cynical world — and that South Koreans can be just as crass and feeble-minded as their American brethren.  Where once an elite Asian Aesthetic graced worldwide history and a culture — we now realize even South Korea can fall into a de-cultured abyss where crass is the leading value and the Kardashians, and contempt in the cradle, are the new monuments of joy.

We’ve given up creativity for the easy insult — that we’ll then try to laugh off as a joke in a humorless world.  Sometimes there’s no escape from a deserved condemnation.

2 comments

  • Well we know that there is no such a thing as coincidence — I wonder why the designers went with this route when making the buildings.

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    • Exactly! The architects don’t live in a vacuum — so this design can only be cruel and intentional. We live in a post-9/11 world and we view art and history through that lens of mass killing. Why create something new to remind us of that awful moment with no hope or inspiration? Is the insult worth the penny of publicity?

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