Last time I was in Albuquerque I drove past a lawn that was landscaped entirely in fake plants.  As in: little plastic indoor-sized plants and flowers stuck in the dirt with no rocks or grass (real or fake) in sight.  It was easily the most hideous yard I ever done did see and thinking of it still sends shivers down my spine.  While working overtime to maintain control of my gag reflex I begged the universe at large to please keep such monstrosities out of my sight.  The universe challenged my resolve by presenting me with this:

A bedroom designed by Marjorie Skouras.  I struggled, I fought, I really really wanted to hate it, but, well, aside from the real flowers, I pretty much love it.  It's ridiculous, totally impractical, and those greens are gross together but I can't help but revel in the fantasy of waking up there every morning.  What's a fake branch in the eye every now and then if the trade off is the opportunity to live in an unliving, unbreathing fauxest (fake + forest, huzzah!)

This got my wheels turning so I decided to web sleuth more rooms with fake wilderness.  I have to admit, I didn't find much - go figure - but I was very picky.  The trees (trees only) had to be HUGE and no wallpaper murals allowed.  3D only thankyouverymuch.

HG&P interiors tempted my tummy with this lovely, albeit temporary, event installation with monolithic trees

Here's another view incase one wasn't enough to satisfy your "wedding party I could have had" fantasies. 

Unfortunately, this is the only other example I was able to find.  Here's hoping (fingers crossed extra hard) that the trees in TWBA's offices are fake.  If not, I'm going to let the mossy abstractions on the walls count.  Plus, that grassy shag rug really drives the fauxest vision home.  Let's take another look:

Klein Dytham Architecture converted an old bowling alley into what might be the only office I'd ever be willing to work in.  Ok, it's good, but not that good.

Supersize Me

When Karly and I went to the Round Top antiques fair last month, the most common sentences uttered between us were either, "If only it was a tenth of the price!" or "I just wish it was bigger." At that moment I realized I had developed a severe case of megalomania, although (silly me!) I should have seen it coming a year ago. Sometimes I feel like I'm just stumbling around aimlessly in the world of design, being as I am just a lowly artist type, and it so often happens that I'm a bit slow to catch onto the latest trends. But methinks this one caught me unawares because I mistook it for art. But it's not art. I don't think. Take, for instance, the work of Dutch design duo Studio Job:

studio job

Their dazzling white gold, mosaic-covered, Silver Ware series for Bisazza featured traditional tabletop pieces in monstrous proportions; the teapot alone is six feet tall (photos courtesy of Dezeen and The LA Times).

studio job

Yet, only a few years ago, according to the International Herald Tribune:

Studio Job was condemned by Dutch design critics for its disdain for function and for its self-indulgent symbolism. "It was horrible," recalled [co-designer] Smeets. "We were accused of making bad art by the art world, and bad design by the design world." Today they are being lauded, for exactly the same reasons, as the poster boy and girl of the new expressionism in design.

So caught between art and design -- or let's say concept and function -- Studio Job occupies a nether region of functionless and lack of concept, wrapped up in a shiny package with a (very) high price tag.

But what's the difference between Studio Job's giant spoon:

studio job

And Claes Oldenburg's giant spoon (photo from Minneapolis Sculpture Garden):

claes oldenburg

No, I don't think the only difference is the cherry on top, but seriously no one disputes Oldenburg's status as a "real" artist. Is it only because he thought of making things that are usually small really big first? (This sculpture was made in the mid 80's, but he started making gigantical sculptures in the 60's.) And he's certainly not the only artist to make giant sculptures. Take the always colorful artist Jeff Koons, for example (via If It's Hip, It's Here):

jeff koons

I'm extremely distracted by the gorgeous background, but how is this giant balloon dog different from, say, designer Jaime Hayon's giant creepy doll thing (other than the difference in zeros on the respective price tags. Hint: artist Jeff Koons' is exponentially more expensive):

jaime hayon

Both sculptures are big and shiny, but could we say that Jeff Koons' includes some kind of cultural critique of society, whereas Jaime Hayon's does not? Maybe. I'd be interested to hear some of you super smart readers argue either side of that point.

What is it about epic proportions on everyday objects that make them so interesting, anyway?

robber duckie

Is there anyone who is not transfixed by this ridiculously ginormous rubber duckie? I didn't think so. And no, it's not photoshopped.

The design world definitely seems to have picked up on the "Bigger is Better" aspect of our culture, because big is REALLY BIG right now.

marcel wanders

Marcel Wanders certainly looks pleased with his gargantuan "table" lamps. Of course, there's no table in the world they could fit on... except maybe one of the silver "tea platters" by Studio Job, featured near the top of the post.

Perhaps he was just trying to one-up Philipe Starck's design for the Parris Landing Condominiums?

philipe starck

Whatever the case, a relatively scaled down megalomania is wending its way through the homes of middle class consumers everywhere, as evidenced by this popular pad on Apartment Therapy:

apartment therapy

How much do you love that giant screwdriver on the left??? It looks dangerous, which I am quite sure is the appeal for me. And check out the Mini-Me version of Starck's giant light bulb. The surge of supersized objects doesn't end there, though:

anglepoise lamps

Even the typically refined anglepoise lamp -- designed in the 40's with smaller scaled homes in mind -- has been pumped up by massive steroid injections. Unlike a scintillating six foot tall teapot, this lamp could fit right in to today's McMansions. (photo on left via Desire to Inspire, photo on right via Apartment Therapy)

Another example of Design/Art's (Des'Art?) trickle down economics:

giant fork

Giant fork sculpture in Missouri via some guy's Myspace evolves into giant fork wallpaper from Anthroplogie (pictures via Apartment Therapy):

anthroplogie wallpaper

Becomes giant fork in Mads Lauritzen's surrealist photograph. Because improper proportions are surreal.

mads lauritzen

For some reason giant cutlery is really popular right now, and that brings back painful memories of those huge wooden forks and spoons that everyone's Mom had on the kitchen wall. Whatever you do people, please don't go there.

I have to admit that I like some of the more practical supersized designs. There's a big difference between Studio Jobs's giant golden coffeepot dumping a stylized brown river of what I can only hope is coffee:

studio job

And these nifty giant golden hand chairs seen in the sweetly elfin Jonathan Adler and adorably scathing Simon Doonan's house, which was featured in Met Home:

jonathan adler

By the way, I'm sure Adler got his chairs from super chic antiques dealer Todd Merrill, but I've seen them in hideous colors for as little as $30 on Craigslist and Ebay. Gold spray paint anyone? Or white, even?

Whew, I'm tired from thinking so much today, and I really hope I haven't worn you out too much to discuss exciting things like: art versus design, or the decline of western civilization, or whether all design will simply grind to a halt in the face of a deepening recession. Is megalomania bound to shrink in direct proportion to our shrinking economy?

In case the real question you want to answer is, "Why do I have to read this crap? I'm not in school anymore," I have a present for you:

supersized bunny

It's a super cute, supersized bunny! And if you like it, you won't click on this link to find out what happened to it.