From Bauhaus to Coolhaus

 

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The definition of “to brand” must be to promote a product as the opposite of what it is.

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Freya Estreller and Natasha Case.

For example, take Coolhaus Ice Cream. It riffs on the Bauhaus, the Weimar German cult of artists from which emerged modern architecture about a century ago. And on modernist starchitect Rem Kookhaus – oops, Koolhaas, sorry. On a pint of “Sundae Funday, aka Moshe Saf-isticated Sundae,” the flavor is described on the front as “Tahitian Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, Chocolate Hazelnut Swirl & Salted Roasted Almonds.” Kool! But on the back, the story of the Coolhaus brand is told: “Even though we’ve grown, nothing has changed about our [local and sustainable] sourcing, making things from scratch, innovating our favorite flavor combinations, or our punny architectural names.” Sounds a lot like the slow ice cream movement!

In short, in spite of the Bauhaus pun in the brand, the product is clearly made using traditional techniques. For the fact is,  traditional architecture is sustainable in a way modern architecture can never be. Modern architecture is processed architecture. If Coolhaus lived up to its name, this brand would be the processed Sealtest ice cream we kids of a certain age rolled our eyes at back in the day. The why of the Coolhaus brand is the $64,000 question. If it is great ice cream, why employ a brand that suggests otherwise?

But I must be a churl to wax snarkly about a brand of ice cream owned by such a pair of capitalists. And ice cream has been berry berry good to me. I met my wife while she was in the supermarket checkout line with an arsenal of Ben & Jerry’s. So, just to make sure I was not unjustly impugning the Sealtest name, I went to Wikipedia, where I found:

At one time, the advertising agency on record, Young & Rubicam, wanted to reintroduce the brand as “Now with Natural Vanilla.”[citation needed] Consumers responded that they believed the brand to be “all natural” already and the effort to increase brand spending was ended before it went to market.[citation needed]”

Perhaps it’s got a little too much “citation needed” mixed into the flavor of the story, but for a story about branding, it sure tastes good. Dee-lishus!

By the way, if it’s Bauhaus, the roof should be flat. But let’s not hold ’em to that.

About David Brussat

For a living, I edit the writing of some of the nation's leading architects, urbanists and design theorists. This blog was begun in 2009 as a feature of the Providence Journal, where I was on the editorial board and wrote a weekly column of architecture criticism for three decades. Architecture Here and There fights the style wars for classical architecture and against modern architecture, no holds barred. My freelance writing and editing on that topic and others addresses issues of design and culture locally and globally. I am a fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts, and a member of the board of the New England chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which bestowed an Arthur Ross Award on me in 2002. I work from Providence, R.I., where I live with my wife Victoria, my son Billy and our cat Gato. If you would like to invest your prose with even more style and clarity, please email me at my consultancy, dbrussat@gmail.com, or call 401.351.0457. Testimonial: "Your work is so wonderful - you now enter my mind and write what I would have written." - Nikos Salingaros, mathematician at the University of Texas, architectural theorist and author of many books.
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2 Responses to From Bauhaus to Coolhaus

  1. Notwithstanding architectural manifestos, I scream, you scream, we all scream for …

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  2. Nikos Salingaros says:

    David,

    Thanks for the tip. I love Ice Cream even though I don’t (and am not supposed to) eat it very often. I’ll look for a pint of Coolhaus in the freezer section of the supermarket next time I go food shopping. I do hope it is distributed in Texas. Then I can send you any thoughts about Rem and Gropius that might arise while eating a few spoonfuls.

    Best wishes,
    Nikos

    Like

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