Thursday, April 15, 2010


Every Thursday behind the automatic doors at the local grocery stores, on wire racks outside neighborhood take-out pizza parlors or inside the Wisconsin State Journal are stacked, piled and folded copies of 77 Square, a flyer focusing on the art, cultural and entertainment scene in and around the Madison metropolitan area. Here you can find tucked on an outside column of the paper a feature they call “Mad City Stats”. What the column reports on are the top five selling items at local businesses. They’ll feature things like the top five selling beers at the Nitty Gritty, or the five most popular hamburgers at Dottie Dumpling’s Dowery, the five most popular bras at Victoria’s Secret or the top selling fragrances at Sephora which included Philosophy Amazing Grace at number five, Marc Jacobs Daisy at number four, Thierry Mugler Angel at number three, Dolce Gabbana Light Blue at number two and Kim Kardashian coming in at number one. This should hint at what flies in Madison, a political hotbed of liberalism but a conservative nest of very traditional homeowners. Here people will sit on the outer edges of political ideology but won’t even put their toes in the water of individualized home design. Last week 77 Square featured Sherwin-Williams top five paint colors. Here’s what the buyers in Madison chose; At number five we had Nomadic Dessert, a color clearly in the beige range. Number four breaks a little to the right with a designer staple, Navajo White. Coming in at number three we’re back to beige with Softer Tan. Moving up the color risk taking ladder is Latte, a little deeper beige but still beige. And at number one, hold your breath, it’s Kilim Beige. The spectrum of color is complete, all the way from “B” to “B”. This is the design mentality we’re up against here on the Isthmus between Lake Monona and Lake Mendota. It makes making a living here harder for us to figure out when most of the potential clients are stuck back in high school where no one wants to stand out. Everyone here seems to want to look like everyone else wrapped up in beige habitats. So here we are trying to figure out a way to slip a little chartreuse into this otherwise colorless milieu. Some day the rainbow will shine over this earth-toned land and we’ll find a couple of believers willing to trust two designers ready to splash a little periwinkle and tangerine over their fears of appearing to possess a touch of style.

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