Paradise Lost

When I was twelve, I thought the coolest building in the world was the Contemporary Resort at Walt Disney World. It was brutalist and a monorail drove through it. When you are a twelve year-old boy living in Reno, Nevada, these are the criteria points used for architectural criticism. Today, I still think the Contemporary Resort is cool, but now for the Mary Blair mural in the Grand Canyon Concourse. The Contemporary has a sleek boutique W Hotel feel. That’s great if you like that, but I spend enough time in W Hotel rooms, so I’ve moved on to Disney’s Yacht Club. My clothing choices fit in better there also.

When I see images of the Contemporary when it first opened in 1971 it looks like the most magnificent vacation spot ever. It’s so groovy and chic. The color palette of avocado, burnt orange, brown, and butter yellow is magnificent. There was a happening supper club, the Top of the World, with live entertainment in the style of Lawrence Welk. The disco had a nifty Logan’s Run vibe. I imagine happy men dressed in their finest maroon leisure suits and women in their floor length lime green chiffon dresses dancing to KC and the Sunshine Band, but a more mellow version. I want to go to a conference where the dining room is all orange and we sit at tables with ochre table cloth. But most importantly, there are giant acrylic trees in the lobby. I say to all the tasteful boutique hotels out there (and the current Contemporary Resort), “Dump the good taste beige and walnut. Put in autumn toned acrylic trees and psychedelic colored Navajo patterned carpet.”

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Contemporary Resort color palette, 1972

Sean Adams

Sean Adams is the Chair of the undergraduate and graduate Graphic Design Program at ArtCenter, founder of Burning Settlers Cabin studio, and on-screen author for LinkedIn Learning/ He is the only two term AIGA national president in AIGA’s 100 year history. In 2014, Adams was awarded the AIGA Medal, the highest honor in the profession. He is an AIGA Fellow, and Aspen Design Fellow. He has been recognized by every major competition and publication including; How, Print, Step, Communication Arts, Graphis, AIGA, The Type Directors Club, The British Art Director’s Club, and the Art Director’s Club. Adams has been exhibited often, including a solo exhibition at The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Adams is an author of multiple magazine columns, and several best-selling books. He has been cited as one of the forty most important people shaping design internationally, and one of the top ten influential designers in the United States. Previously, Adams was a founding partner at AdamsMorioka, whose clients included The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Disney, Mohawk Fine Papers, The Metropolitan Opera, Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, Richard Meier & Partners, Sundance, and the University of Southern California.

Plastic Fantastic Wonderland

I've noticed that every concept car I see looks the same; sort of a swoopy Prius like car with very little headroom. I don't think I want one of these in the future. I want the rounded car with lots of headroom in Sleeper. Granted there are problems with the tiny sliver of a window and it would no doubt bottom out on the easiest of bumps, but it's pretty swell. I also like the pod-like cars on Logan's Run. Again, the lack of a steering wheel, seat belts, or any radio could be an issue, but cool design trumps these.

Dale Hennesy was the production designer on Logan's Run and Sleeper. Both of these have that distinct glossy and slick 1970s futuristic vision. Plastic is big. Chrome is hip. All white interiors like an Apple store or the new Enterprise work well. The furniture is made for awkward lounging and would clearly pose problems when it was time to stand up. Also, it must be quite temperate in the future. The people in Logan's Run seem to wear draping silk scarves as clothing and are really into those low socks. In this story, people are killed at 30 to maintain population control. Given the lack of arch-support if you only wear socks, this is a positive. Otherwise these people would be limping around at 40.

Most importantly, I appreciate the Garanimals approach to clothes. Monochrome is big. Nobody has clashing patterns or colors. Everyone is very matchy matchy. Perhaps people go home and change into plaid pants and flower patterned shirts in private.