There are a few things that nearly all Chronicle designers love: Books, Art, and Anthropologie. (At least, those of the fairer sex. Jake would definitely swap Surfing into that three-spot.)
So as you can imagine, there’s been quite a bit of chatter around here about the current window displays in Anthro’s retail outlets around town.
Anthropologie’s endlessly crafty window dressers have salvaged thousands of tattered old paperbacks to create a sculptural mise-en-scène in which to display their glamour-gear for the literary set. Removing from the equation all of the aspects of the book that one would normally associate with design and décor—e.g. covers, illustrations, typography—the books are reduced to their purest form: letterforms on paper.
On Market Street here in San Francisco, the book interiors hang suspended from the ceiling like Noguchi lanterns. The folded paper, spiraling around a central axis, is reminiscent of origami, yet the shadows of text receding into the space between the pages lend tension to these angular forms. The books belie a presence that is at once weightless and solid.
The Corte Madera store just over the Golden Gate Bridge applies a different tactic, rounding the pages into the spines to create a flowering, organic frame for their display. The faded fore-edges of these abandoned books lend bursts of muted color to the composition, and you can almost smell the musty odor seeping from the yellowed pages.
In the comments on a post about the Berkeley store over on Casa Sugar, a few readers lament that so many books were ruined in the process of creating these displays. I don’t see it this way at all. These are old recycled books, stacks and stacks of which end up in landfills and shredders each year (btw Chronicle has a policy of avoiding the practice of remaindering at all costs). If throwaway paperbacks can have a second life as works of art, or better yet inspire people to create their own design projects, then I’m all for it. Isn’t that the whole idea behind reevaluating the life cycle of our products?
Agree? Disagree? Jump in! Meanwhile, check out dreambird’s Flickr photos of the Anthro window display in Kansas City, or scout out some of your own and send in a link!