New uses for old bunkers #24 – the Manhattan shoe display

So, I’m sitting at the kitchen table. I turn from my screen to my wife.

“I’m finally shocked” I say.

She gives me a disbelieving look.

I pass the laptop across to her and point earnestly at the images on screen, imploring her to see the oddness that has just slapped me in the face.

“Look, a bunker display to sell shoes!”

She looks straight at me, showing no shock.

“It’s not a real bunker, you know.” She replies, deadpan.

We agree that she’s not shocked, and nothing I’m going to say is going to convert her to my incredulous cause. She walks off laughing, baffled that I would find this instalment of bunker imagery shocking.

I lick my wounds, stare at the pictures and try to work out for myself what makes me react this way to co-option of grey, concrete bunkerness in the service of a designer boutique and its wares.

I decide that it’s the category error, the semantic wandering that finds posh shoes and bunkers side by side. And in this perhaps, just for a moment, I glimpse my own positionality within my attempts to trace the reverberation of bunker-imagery through contemporary culture.

Here’s the blurb (from specialist shop display designers OSO Industries) that I stumbled on, and from which these photos originate:

“Raw cast concrete display for design studio Surface to Air for their American flagship store in Soho, Manhattan.  Designed and cast to mimic a World War II bunker, this 16 foot long replica was cast in 18 interlocking sections, the largest measured at close to 4 cubic feet- the surfaces were to look battle scarred and weathered.  Fabricated in collaboration with Situ Studio”


About lukebennett13
Reader & Course Leader, BSc Hons Real Estate, Sheffield Hallam University, UK. I TEACH: built environment law to construction, surveying, real estate and environmental management students. I RESEARCH: metal theft; urban exploration & recreational trespass; occupiers' perceptions of liability for their premises. I THINK: about the links between ideas, materialities and practices in the built environment. I WAS: an environmental lawyer working in commercial practice for 17 years before I joined academia in 2007. I EXPLAIN: the aims of my blogsite site here: LINKS: Twitter: @lukebennett13; Archive: EPITAPH: “He lived at a little distance from his body, regarding his own acts with doubtful side-glances.” James Joyce, Dubliners

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