Imperial Decline

The New York Times today features a piece on the design of the workspace at the ?What If! [note: a fine nominee for the most annoying agency name ever] marketing agency, which “works to expand the markets of businesses like PepsiCo, Pfizer and Virgin.”

The theme is postmodern playground:

work-booths

The new interiors recall the whimsies of larger creative campuses like Google. There are “stimulation” shelves for employees to display objects; white boards in the elevators (“Smiths or Cure?” read one line of graffiti the other day); a “library” with no books (just wallpaper that looks like books); and vintage stereo components that play vinyl.

Can you guess what the building housing all this behavior-engineering “play” on behalf of corporate sugar water and other forms of cash-farming used to be? Yep, a free-care hospital and a lending library.

For the umpteenth time, Orwell couldn’t make this stuff up.

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