Expensive is easy

Expensive is easy

Spring newsletter—-Expensive is easy. 

Depending on where in the world you may be, design has a very different meaning; Northern European design is entwined with the greater goal of “wellness” or a sense of comfort: hygge . In Japanese design, objects have a spirit or a soul. Italian design is rooted in tradition, which like jazz, has a baseline from which new design riffs. Meanwhile, in the United States design is simply a synonym for luxury. It is rarely evoked for a higher ideological practice of making objects under a “greater good”. 

Do we value the acquisition of high-end design over the quality of the object itself? Is pure consumption in and of itself the signifier of class? I don't know. But it is easy to make something that's expensive.


"Capitello" Chair Designer Studio 65 Italian Manufacturer Gufram Italian 1971


So much of American design is crafted to sell for a bunch of money. So much of modern US design has become a veritable arms race of who can design with the rarest materials. Whole mountain ranges are toppled from New Guinea to Bolivia to make lamps out of marble, end tables out of granite, and salad bowls out of rare crystal. Hearts of mountains that are never more dot the homes of our well-to-do like the mounted heads of African Lions in the Gilded Age Mansions of years past.

Slash Objects "unbroken lamp" Starting at $18,000

We think about the Italian design studio Superstudio’s belief system on design “If design is merely an inducement to consume, then we must reject design; if architecture is merely the codifying of the bourgeois models of ownership and society, then we must reject architecture; if architecture and town planning [are] merely the formalization of present unjust social divisions, then we must reject town planning and its cities … until all design activities are aimed towards meeting primary needs. Until then, design must disappear. We can live without architecture.”[i] This is coming out of the fall of Mussolini and there was a consensus with Italians that if all thinking previously led to the rise of fascism and consumerism, it must be rejected. This was the 70s, so take it with a grain of salt. 

Lucca House thinks of object as a maximization of use; can post-industrial waste be altered into something that is more useful than the original virgin material? Can Plywood be a beautiful and cost effective material while presenting itself as precious and proving usefulness. We ask ourselves: how can we take a material that is omnipresent and make it the most special? A few small touches and refined details can go a long way to making something like a series of flat surfaces all of a sudden seem a bit more special. 

Max Lamb, Man Rock Drill, 2015.

We really believe that design is the process of problem-solving. We are making something that will last 10+ years, biodegrade when ready, and is not cheap, but affordable (loaded word there we will get to that in a later newsletter).

Thanks for listening, and as always, attached is a code for a discount as a thank you for hearing out our crazy ramblings.

With love from Pittsfield, Massachusetts: the Buttplug of the Berkshires,

-Lucca Zeray 

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