Dirt: I hate these shelves

The tyranny of curves

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Kyle Chayka on some very ugly interior design.

Take a look at this set of kitchen shelves featured in New York Magazine, specifically in Wendy Goodman’s long-running column of NYC interior-design photo shoots.

Or don’t look at them, because I can’t. The array of rounded rectangles does something yucky to my eyes and brain, something like trypophobia, the aversion to bunches of little holes. They’re too organic, the inverted pyramid too imbalanced, like it’s threatening to overturn the room. The cabinets dominate: visually, conceptually, physically. And yet I also want to look anywhere else in the photo.

This space is advertised in the piece as a “family-friendly home.” I don’t think these shelves are very family friendly. They’re like Space Invaders, moving implacably down from the top of screen, or ceiling. The rest of the room pales in comparison, a bunch of all-white IKEA-ish built-ins.

And even when I’m forced to think about the shelves, questions arise. How do the shelves open, do they have various hatches or does the whole front just rise in one piece? What do you do with the rounded edges, since you can’t store anything there and stuff would just slip down? How could anyone possibly reach the top shelves?

It gets worse. As this video reveals, the shelves are made by Virginie Sommet, and they’re called “Peekaboo Virginie.” That’s not the bad part. The bad part is that the front of the cabinets is not even on hinges. You just have to lift it off the front. And then do what with it, put it on the ground?? Store it in the nonexistent closet??

The idea seems to be that you can either have open shelves to display your belongings, or hide them away when you don’t want them to be seen and want a nice, clean, minimalist facade: Your wall becomes a wall of blobs instead of mess. That might be fine for bookshelves in the parlor, however, it is absolutely not fine nor functional in a kitchen. That is somehow supposed to be family-friendly. I would store one pot in the very bottom shelf and never use anything else. — By Kyle Chayka

The Dirt: Form ignores function.