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Eavesdrop: Anne Guiney

Ah, springtime, when young men’s fancy turns to love, and middle-aged men’s fancy apparently turns to things a little fleshier. At a recent launch party for L’Homme, a new men’s fragrance from Yves Saint Laurent, the main attraction was the presence of Jean Nouvel, who had designed the fragrance’s bottle. Like so much of what the bald and black-clad architect creates, it caused gasps. A thick test-tube-like glass shaft rises from an octagonal platform base. But heck, biomimicry is all the rage these days, right? The brief was presumably to come up with something virile, and Nouvel obviously took his directive literally. And just in case you missed the joke, there is a squirmy little bauble floating around inside. Mr. Nouvel described it thusly to the good people of Wallpaper*: “I wanted to give it a clear-cut shape, so it would easily fit a man's hand while still stimulating different aspects of his imagination.” We prefer to rouse our imagination by gazing at the picture of L’Homme’s spokesmodel Olivier Martinez

We are feeling civically inclined this afternoon, and tough times require bold thinking and new ideas. We would therefore like to make a suggestion to Governor David Paterson for a successor to Patrick Foye of the Empire State Development Corporation: the writer Andrei Codrescu. We were flipping through Architect magazine the other day and saw an article on the parlous state of America’s infrastructure, and what a handful of experts and thinkers recommend to fix it. Most suggested sound and reasonably predictable measures—planner and teacher Alex Garvin thought money should be allocated to a trust fund for community planning, design, and engineering, while a fellow from the League of American Bicyclists advocated a comprehensive network of bike lanes—but nothing so vanilla for Codrescu. Once we have introduced hydrogen-fueled mag-lev trains and free access to bikes, commuter vans, and canoes, he wrote, “we should mobilize a huge national will to make teleportation available to everyone.” To finance it? “Within every municipality there should be a tax-exempt 24-hour zone where everything is legal: drugs, sex, and music.” This last suggestion, we dare say, might just get traction among some local pols. 


Anne Guiney