This will not be news to anyone, but we are a society that is quasi-obsessed with trends. And while there’s a small sub-set of people that love nothing more than to “buck a trend”, for the most part communities as a whole are much more comfortable following the pack than we are going our own route as individuals.
If we look back at the last handful of decades, there are a number of period-specific trends that can be used to categorize what was happening in any given industry, be it fashion, transportation, housing, electronics…whatever you’re into. But one trend group I’ve been thinking about recently (or maybe just noticing more) is that of material combinations, past and present.
The finish and presentation of “things” -- and let’s be honest, we come into contact with thousands of “things” everyday -- is driven by a number of factors outside of the normal, “society deems this on-trend for the season!” rhetoric. Are you a satin, gloss or matte finish person? Do you prefer smooth to the touch, or is an engineered texture more your speed? Do contrasting colors get you jazzed, or are you drawn more to a monochromatic palette? You catch my drift.
Well, if you ask me (and I know you didn’t), one of the most beautiful yet fleeting material combination trends was that of inlaid leather with aluminum. Nothing represents that classic 60’s and 70’s aesthetic combo better than the Polaroid SX-70 camera. With all the other design features aside (which in itself could be another verbose, long-winded blog post), it’s the material combo that grabs my attention foremost. To me it reads sleek and refined but inviting to hold. It’s warm and cool all at once. I guess if I boil it down, it’s the duality of the materials that makes the SX-70 a design classic for me personally.
With that in mind, I’ll leave you all with another material combination from the same era to consider and debate: the classic 1970’s-era wood paneled Jeep Wagoneer. Design classic or heinous mistake? Somewhere in the middle? Digest and discuss at your leisure.