"So called "speculative design" or "critical design" are in reality institutional projects that have little use or interest outside of the institutions that generate them. Whilst this crit room fodder can have a lot of pedagogical value in school, it is a mistake to presume as the fine artist does, that your particular brand of self-indulgent navel-gazing is something the rest of the world needs or wants. Ironically the lack of any criteria for "speculative" or "critical" design makes critical evaluation impossible. It doesn't have to do anything (outside of the classroom). Your fantasy praxis is the residue of privilege. Obviously if the work is brilliant, beautiful or interesting, that is reason enough for it to exist – but mostly it's just dumb and boring."
"The #Kinfolk community is united less by particular ideas about how to live than a superficial visual style. It enforces monotony rather than embracing differences of identity. The same emblems of aspiration can now be found in Brooklyn or Copenhagen as easily as Tokyo, Lisbon, London, or Istanbul, and Kinfolk is always there to provide them, piggybacking on the meme it has become.
The challenge that Williams and Ouur face is how to reclaim an image of self-affirming authenticity when the perspective that once made them unique is now universal. It's the hipster paradox: you can't be both nonconformist and part of a massive, global group.
"Convergence is possible only at the price of shedding identity," architect Rem Koolhaas wrote in his 1995 book, The Generic City. "Identity is like a mousetrap in which more and more mice have to share the original bait, and which, on closer inspection, may have been empty for centuries.""
Kanyi Maqubela, the Roam investor, sees meaning in the generic from an unexpected source. "If you go to Catholic church in most parts of the world, the mass is going to feel like the mass. There is still a sense of unity," he says. "We’re starting to enter the world where these private companies have some of that magic to them, the notion of feeling at home across time zones in any country."