Nicolai Ouroussoff Thinks Chanel Pavilion Launch Is Ill-Timed, in Bad Taste

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The NY TimesNicolai Ouroussoff is a notoriously tough man to please — and once again, he is not pleased at all. This time, he’s not so hot on Zaha Hadid‘s new Chanel Pavilion in NY’s Central Park (which you’ll remember us covering in detail here). Though you get the sense that Ouroussoff doesn’t completely hate the structure itself (unlike what’s hanging inside), he sees the whole thing as a cringe-worthy display of excess at a time when, financially, everything outside of the Pavilion is taking that bobsled to hell, to paraphrase that famous expression. He uses another example to explain it best:

When Rem Koolhaas‘s Prada shop opened in SoHo three months after the World Trade Center attacks, it was immediately lampooned as a symbol of the fashion world’s clueless self-absorption. The shop was dominated by a swooping stage that was conceived as a great communal theater, a kind of melding of shopping and civic life. Instead, it conjured Champagne-swilling fashionistas parading across a stage, oblivious to the suffering around them.

Ouroussoff, like many critics recently, sees this as the beginning of many nails in going into many coffins with these “self-absorption” project (at least for a while), and we have a feeling we’re going to be reading a lot of similar pieces in the near future as flashy new buildings and exhibitions already in the works are finalized and everyone is left standing around tsk-tsk’ing, asking “Honestly, you really think this is appropriate right now?”