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studio escape: the dogpatch edition

May 6, 2014

written by
Greg Ciro Tornincasa

Don’t get us wrong, we love designing our you-know-whats off, but every now and again Team 300FeetOut attempts top-secret studio escapes. To expedite our stealth, ninja-like escape attempts, we call them “inspiration outings.”

Our latest “inspiration” led us to San Francisco’s darling-of-the-moment hot spot, the Dogpatch. Or, says Travel + Leisure, “San Francisco’s new creative epicenter.”  We’d planned a quick neighborhood reconnaissance before getting our design on at the Museum of Craft and Design.  First stop – Mr. & Mrs. Miscellaneous ice creamery for tongue-cooling cones on a hot day (by San Francisco standards). Cardamom, bay leaf, almond and honey. Treats in hand, we moseyed around the corner to discover Sutton Cellars. While tempted to trade our sweets for a taste of their barrel-aged negronis, formulated with Sutton Cellars own vermouth, we preservered toward the museum. The open doors of a long-awaited restaurant/brewery Smokestack (sister to the Haight’s Magnolia) lured us in for a peek. This place has an interior to die for! (And we didn’t even try the beer, whiskey or BBQ.) See for yourself.

Licking the last remnants of ice cream off our fingers, we finally set foot in the Museum of Craft and Design’s new home. We really want you to visit! So we’re keeping this short and sharing only our favorite exhibit. Wheat Is Wheat Is Wheat: Peddy Mergui had all of us whipping out our iPhones while shouting “Tiffany yogurt!,” “Prada flour!” and “Louis Vuitton salami!”  Don’t mistake our excitement for crazy – this was really happening.

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The exhibit is the vision of Israel-based artist Peddy Mergui. By infusing the packaging design of our most basic commodities with values of prestige and luxury, Wheat Is Wheat Is Wheat explores the dynamic, and often blurred, ethical boundaries of design within consumer culture. The exhibition highlights the challenges a designer may face when tasked to promote economic interests while remaining true to his or her own moral compass. The phenomenon of “prestige” and “luxury” as consumer validation is a reoccurring theme with this artist. What do we actually purchase when we pay top dollar for a “BRAND” of flour or table salt?

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“By observing Peddy Mergui’s new and improved “luxury” products we may see how brand alignment is perceived by many as acceptance to a status group or an affirmation of successful lifestyle. His exhibition: Wheat is Wheat is Wheat is a humorous yet provocative commentary on global consumer culture that may just have us questioning our next purchase.” — Museum of Craft and Design

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