The Emirates Classic Car Festival is back. Enthusiasts goggling at cult icons like the Mercedes Benz Patent Wagon, the 1960 Rolls Royce Limousine and even the DMC-12 DeLorean from ‘Back to the Future’ have given the festival a fine reputation in the past. No doubt, this year (19th to 22nd March) will see an even larger number of admirers orbiting the MBR Boulevard at Downtown Dubai.
However, this fascination with the old doesn’t stop at classic cars. From fashion labels, to coffee shops, to Instagram filters, vintage is a rage in design practices across industries. Why so?
Vintage design has the power to awake memories characterised by period icons of the past decades. It arises the emotion of “how green was my valley”. And makes us feel that life was much simpler, less stressful and relaxed in the past. We also tend to associate a feeling of value to old things.
But give it a dose of psychological logic, and this rosy nostalgia may not turn out to be entirely factual. Every age is bombarded with mundane negative experiences. Yet, history is a darling. It generously records human successes while ignoring our several failures. We glorify the past only to inspire the present. So much so, that nostalgic elements can give you a peculiar sense of belonging to an age you didn’t even belong to.
And when it comes to Designers, we adore vintage! It gives us a chance loosen our artistic leash by experimenting with the “form over function” method. Clearly, classic cars are the best example of this. Designers such as Bill Mitchell (Cadillac & Corvette), Virgil Exner (Chrysler & Studebaker) and Ferdinand Porsche (Porsche) have penned some of the world’s most beautiful vehicles as an art form foremost in their minds. Once the car was designed, engineers were tasked with figuring out how to make it function. Hence, form over function.
Present-day automobiles are designed by people with titles such as aerodynamicist, metallurgist, electrical engineer and so on. For them, function, not form is at the the heart of design. This is not a choice, but societal priorities like fuel economy, reparability and safety drive their crafting styles.
What about you? Do you prefer indulgent aesthetics found in Vintage design or pragmatic solutions of Modern design trends?