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In defense of Instagrammable moments

Surface Magazine – and more specifically the CEO of Surface Magazine – recently published this article criticizing the “trend” toward designing for Instagrammable moments.

Here is an excerpt:

We—and yes, this includes architects, too—have succumbed to the pressures of gaining followers, likes, and comments. High-priced, difficult-to-attain architecture degrees are now, incomprehensibly, being used to create “Instagrammable” installations for things like impromptu selfie fashion shoots and hotel lobby photo booths. The whole thing is, I must say, sad. It’s embarrassing enough that our team at Surface has received press releases from architects promoting their latest project with “Instagram-friendly interiors.” They can’t be serious.

And here are his final words:

If retail is dead, then its rebirth will depend on creating memorable atmospheres that don’t call for #✌💙👯🙋📷.

I certainly appreciate the push for lasting and memorable spaces, but, at the same time, I can’t say I’m nearly as fussed about lobby selfies and the alleged timelessness of Instagram. 

In fact, I think it would be an interesting exercise to study how social media may be impacting the way we design physical spaces.

Maybe it is simply a fad being promulgated by “knucklehead junior marketers” or maybe 100 years from now nerdy architectural historians will look back on that quaint period of time when we designed spaces to service rudimentary 2D images shared amongst friends.

Whatever the case may be, I think that architecture, like all art, should embody the milieu in which it was designed. 

But often we have biases telling us that what is new is not as good as what’s existing and already accepted.

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