Not all that long ago there were still people who thought the world was flat. They formed the Flat Earth society. Its members were always careful to stay away from the horizon, scared they might topple off its edge.
While most of us are happy with a round world, it seems flatness is making a comeback. I am very worried about the curve of roundness disappearing. While not against frugality of size and the narrowing of the essentials in smaller and smaller products, I feel that this mania to reduce and downsize is concentrated too much on the flatness of things. Today, of all places, at Aldi, one can buy an entire dining set of large table with four dining chairs, all in a flat pack. The week before, a huge turbo gas driven four burner stainless steel barbeque, all came in a neat square sturdy carton flat pack. Our ugly curved lampshade looming over the settee; in a flat pack. We bought some time ago 4 lovely Cotswold garden chairs after seeing them at a show room. We noticed a trolley going to the back of the store and soon after it reappeared with 4 flat packs.
Designers now must be considering first of all on how to fit the object into a flat pack before actually designing the products. If it can’t be put into a flat pack it won’t get to production. I believe Renault is working on designing cars that fit into a flat pack with a major requirement being all can be assembled by the use of a single giant Allen key.
It might all be related to storage. It is a known fact that flat stores better than spherical. Notice though that even small objects are all in flat shapes. TV’s used to be large and have curved screens. Now, the large TV makers are vying for making them as flat as possible. Soon we will watch TV on flats sheets of plastic or paper. Soccer balls used to be round but know come also in a flat package to be blown round later on after it has been bought. Meat products now come mainly in vacuum sealed and flattened out shapes. I would not be surprised there is a conspiracy between the giants of the supermarkets that will entice people to put more into shopping trolleys when all the foodstuffs come in flat packs. Have you noticed that Brussel sprout are becoming flatter and squarer? Soon through genetically modifying and capturing the flat nano particle, food engineers will produce flat cauliflowers and potatoes. Another requirement seems to be that once the flat pack has been opened, the challenge of un-wrapping the plastic surrounding the object has to be tackled. Not an easy task with the plastic obstinately refusing to give way to almost any object used to penetrate it. I have used my teeth to try and break through.
Years ago, being called square wasn’t a term of endearment but one wonders with the exploding world population, people will revert to being square again. It would enable us to take up less space. We already live in square rooms, sleep in square beds and fill space with flat and square objects. It would make perfect sense to all and everything becoming flat and square and…..boring.