Chalet (Gross)

Whitby Morrison are makers of ice cream vans and other specialist vehicles. The ice cream van has lost something of its sci-fi lustre, fast evaporating from Britain’s streets and now a rather prosaic, functional object, not a spin-off from the gloriously vernacular fairground culture, as illustrated by these Corgi models 428 and 447.
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In his piece Only gentrification can avert the ice-cream van’s doom, Joe Moran describes the traditional van as being on the way out, sidelined by gentrification and the health police, and evoking Reyner Banham’s celebration of their role as folk objects in the 60s and 70s. From Naomi Stead’s The Rocket-Baroque Phase of the Ice Cream vernacular: On Reyner Banham’s Criticism of Architecture and Other things‘ (pdf): ‘As an example Banham describes the case of ice cream vans, which he describes as ‘the biggest invisible objects in residential Britain’, the design and manufacture of which were, at the time and place of his writing, dominated by a single company. He describes the way that this firm operates entirely without drawings or ‘design’ as such, but nevertheless produces remarkably sophisticated ‘styled’ objects, drawing inflections from popular culture such that there is an identifiable ‘Rocket-Baroque phase’, influenced by the aesthetic of the space race and of Batman.’

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There’s not much accompanying documentation, but Stefan Jaeggi’s photographic series ‘Chalet (Gross) appears to be about architectural extremes, and the way that vernacular doesn’t always scale / the mystery of flickr’s ghost car dealership, a modern ruin / Sacred Mtn, a design blog / fascismo abbandonato, the consciously neglected ruins of Italian fascist architecture / United Nude’s Lo-Res Project (more info) / jlggbblog, a weblog / Agenda is Phaidon’s new portal, part blog / Doug Coupland’s Dictionary of the Near Future / flickr sets of toy buses.

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