2 Up 2 Down
Editor’s Note: This is the first installment of a new column by longtime Ink 19 contributor Marshall Presnell. Billed as a periodic critique of the best and worst in new design, we’re pleased as punch to have Marshall as a new addition to the Columns family. Enjoy.
Infiniti Q45 and Lexus LS430
I’m not too fond of the alphanumeric soup method of naming automobiles. Still, naming cars in this way is very common and conveys an air of racing heritage to even something as mundane as a Datsun B210. Nissan and Toyota surely don’t hope to inspire the sort of passion that causes names like Daytona (aka the Ferrari 365 GTB/4) to be attached to their 45’s and 430’s. They’re for the no-nonsense rich person who’d really rather drive an extravagant car with a cold, alpanumeric designation.
These may be two of the most maxed out luxomobiles ever, but they are also utilitarian. The Infiniti has a voice-activated control system (for the stereo, AC, etc.) and a camera above the license plate which allows the driver to happily tool around in reverse while looking at the dashboard. The Lexus has a cruise control system that also controls following distance, because rich people like liquor and hate paying too much for insurance. Yes, and rich people don’t like their mixers getting too hot, thus the optional “cool box” between the rear seats.
While some of the features on the Q45 and LS430 are indulgent, others increase safety, and that can’t be bad. The point is, this type of direct competition eventually causes useful (and gee-whiz) features to filter down to cars that normal humans can afford, and that’s got to be good. Can anyone loan me $70,000?
Nomad Water Bottle by Evian, Diamond Encrusted Jelly Band Wristwatches
The design of the Nomad is undeniably beautiful and convenient. Hell, who doesn’t want to be able to hold a bottle of water with their pinky? But the shapely, feminine profile and rounded base make these beauties unstable in groups. The first time I encountered a cooler stocked with Nomads, I opened the door and they spilled en masse onto the floor like fish from a net. They literally couldn’t stay on the shelves. The only place they might be effectively corralled is in a bucket of ice, and everyone knows that space is reserved for oversized cans of beer.
The Nomad’s slippery shape is not the biggest problem with this design. The increased amount of plastic and lack of recycle coding of the clever, looped lid come to mind. The amount of plastic in the lid has been minimized through modern molding techniques, but there is still a great deal more plastic that will go in the trash.
Why anyone would wear a ridiculously gem-festooned timepiece is anyone’s guess. Why it’s necessary for anyone to use a translucent, candy-colored strap to attach such a monstrosity to their wrist is totallybeyondcomprehension. Admittedly, amazing advances in plastics technology have made it possible to securely hold a heavily encrusted divers’ watch on a wealthy woman’s arm with such see-through flair. But, can’t you just hear a young girl exclaiming, “Mom! Look what I found in the cereal box! It’s a certified Swiss chronometer inlaid with thirty-six carats of diamonds!…Oh, and it has a lime green see-through band!!”