Do you love Prada? Do you hate Prada? Does the sight of those mint green walls and that little metallic triangle bring you a rush of assurance? Or does it intimidate the hell out of you?
One thing you'll conclude by the time you wallow through "Projects For Prada Pt 1" brought to you by Oma/Amo's Rem Koolhaas and the Fondazione Prada Edizioni, is that Prada IT is certainly not resting on their laurels.
Speaking of laurels, if you have always suspected the Prada company as being somewhat imperial (in the very Roman sense of the expression) then "P for P 1" is going to do very little to dispel your paranoia. In fact it'll probably amplify it. Big time.
A mere six pages in and you're hit full frontal with the boldfaced word "Expansion" before being treated to a hilarious series of conceptual maps that poses the idea of Prada vs Population, Prada vs GDP, Prada vs National Debt before concluding with the totalitarian proposition of "Prada World".(What you wouldn't give to see the look on Patrizio Bertelli's face when he saw that in the proofs .)
From that ambitious point, as they say in the streets, It's on.
The section titled "Tourism" treats you to what is in essence an exploded view of the brand's flagship store in Milan, the Prada workspace (showroom, buyer's space, prototypes. )
You then segue into an elegant distillation of Koolhaas's idea of where the Prada brand could legitimately evolve, from what the brand's idea of luxury is (or is that " will be"), to the indispensable visual elements that all the stores should carry.
After all the preamble you finally get to the nitty gritty of what Koolhaas plans for each Prada store slated to be opened in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
And that means the already infamous shoe theater in NY, the underground shop windows of LA and most architectually daunting of all, the eight story Prada tower in SF complete with a mind boggling swiss-cheese facade.
And Rem's not done with you yet.. The perverse video outakes of the behind the scene meetings , a terribly abstract series on the proposed materials for the shops his flowcharts on where Koolhaas intends to take the Prada web-site and terrifying details like RFID tags for the purposes of inventory control,point of sales efficency and theft control (Damn!) .
The idea of a high-tech Prada loyalty card is brand perfect , as are the futuristic dressing rooms , kiosks and in-store display panels.
Of course Koolhass wouldn't be Koolhaas without the naughty and unlikely gestures (Prada vomit?), the out-there propositions for ad campaigns or that sustained idee fixe of the "Prada army" . But that facetiousness is totally within the Koolhaas program. After all this is the man who gleefully designed the ...Hermitage Guggenheim AND Guggenheim Las Vegas museums.
Whether meant ironically or in scary earnest the book does lay bare the brutality and the complexity of both Koolhaas' and Prada's ambition. Somebody who knows these things once told us that Prada Sport does not seek to compete with other designer lines, but rather, has its sights set on Nike . And reading P for P Pt 1 has completely persuaded this reader that sentiments such as these are characteristic of Prada culture.
The Prada store as the Disney-world for millionaire semioticians the world over, intellectual perversity as the ultimate luxury proposition, Rem Koolhaas for sale to the culture -at large. These questions and more will riddle you as you go deeper into....PRADAWORLD
But whatever side issue that will swarm in the wake of this book, one things for sure. It sure is rife with some killer one-liners.(E.G "Luxury is Rough." Amen to that!)
Every designer should have it by the bedside just to help them get that competitive spirit cracking . The world's most famous architect as the driest stand up comedian ever. Who would have thought.