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Elon Musk rolls out X and might’ve forgotten to file his building permits

I Love Art Deco

Elon Musk rolls out X and might’ve forgotten to file his building permits

Twitter’s offices at 1355 Market Street in San Francisco (Filip Troníček/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 4.0)

Elon Musk is still busy. Since he began his takeover of Twitter (now X Corp.) last year, Musk has shown little satisfaction for how the deal went down, the alleged presence of bots, going rounds in Delaware’s Chancery Court, and now, its branding. 

While being occupied with a lawsuit against Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, in which the defendants entertainingly allege that the $90 million fee collected by Wachtell for their legal services to Twitter during its sale to Musk “represented nearly 10% of Wachtell’s gross revenue in 2022,” Musk, and X, have found themselves in a new series of controversies

As AN reported in December 2022 and March 2023, at company’s San Francisco headquarters at 1355 Market Street some office spaces were informally converted to bedrooms, much to the ire of building inspectors. Yesterday, X’s new logo was flashed onto the facade of the company’s office as the new crowdsourced design was revealed. One line of the “x” in the logo is formed by a parallelogram, while a line extends from the midpoint each of its two longer sides to form the second arm. The contiguous white shape is set against a black background, which will serve as the platform’s color scheme.

To concretize the change, construction workers began to remove the letters of “@Twitter” from the gray metal sign attached to 1355 Market Street. People began to notice, filming workers dismantling the sign letter-by-letter. Things then took a turn to the procedurally-laden absurd way in which they often do with Musk, given his general ignorance toward legal processes, when police showed up and gave an order to stop the dismantling. As the San Francisco Chronicle reported, it was the building’s management that called the police because they were never informed that work was being done to the building.

 

The “@Twitter” sign was left as “er,” and the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection said that they were determining if the work would need a permit (which was also not filed if so). As the Chronicle noted, X would have needed landlord approval (the building is owned by Shorenstein and JPMorgan Chase ) for any changes to the sign per the terms of its lease. For now, the company’s sign will read “er,” and displays of the new logo might be restricted to a projector, for now. Reports of other unpermitted, Musk-appointed designs circulated last month when the Wall Street Journal reported that Musk had non-architect Tesla employees working on a glass house for him at the company’s location outside of Austin.

Musk has previously taken an interest in aesthetics. In May 2021 he tweeted (x’ed) “I love Art Deco.” Last Sunday, when soliciting designs for a new logo, Musk tweeted: “If X is closest in style to anything, it should, of course, be Art Deco.” At least he’s consistent? The redesign is a distinct departure from Twitter’s famous blue bird. One of the original logo’s designers, Martin Grasser, tweeted that “the logo was designed to be simple, balanced, and legible at very small sizes, almost like a lowercase “e.” Rooms in the company’s headquarters were rebranded to names like “eXposure,” “eXult” and “s3Xy.” Art Deco meets edgelord. 


Musk’s infatuation with the letter “x” is nothing new, as The New York Times has pointed out. Whether it be with his early business forays, at Tesla, or in naming his children, “x” continues to pop-up in Musk’s life. The most recent renaming of Twitter will ostensibly signal a new direction for the platform, if his grand schemes ever come to fruition. But it’s worth reminding ourselves how Twitter got into this position to begin with, and as Musk has gone about gutting the company, many have been left wondering what Musk is going to do with X now. Musk and new X Corp. CEO Linda Yaccarino have returned to the preoccupation of incorporating financial services into Twitter à la a libertarian WeChat pipe dream.

As Bloomberg columnist and Musk aficionado Matt Levine asked, “What was he paying for? Musk didn’t want Twitter for its employees (whom he fired) or its code (which he trashes regularly) or its brand (which he abandoned) or its most dedicated users (whom he is working to drive away); he just wanted an entirely different Twitter-like service. Surely he could have built that for less than $44 billion?” The entirely different Twitter-like service may just be Twitter, functionally gutted, and partially reconstructed and rebranded under Musk’s aesthetic sensibilities.

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