Cultural Odyssey

Why Analog Trends
Are Taking
Modern Homes
by Storm

Why Analog
Trends Are
Modern Homes
by Storm

By Tim Alper(Journalist)

Digital is king – in 2019, there are very few things one cannot do with a smartphone, a smartwatch or a tablet.

But as many of us spend most of the day interacting with phones, PCs and the internet, there comes a time when we want to just unplug, step away from our touchscreens, leave the keyboard behind and disconnect.

Green Fingers

For anyone living in a house with a garden, horticulture can provide a quick and easy solution. Simply don some Wellington boots and roll your sleeves up and head outside – you can spend whole days at a time digging up weeds, replanting flowerbeds, trimming hedges and mowing the lawn.

Sadly, not all of us have gardens. Regardless, innovative apartment-dwellers are also getting in on the act. Home gardening is becoming a hugely popular, therapeutic urbanite pastime. Hypermarkets in busy city centers now stock an enormously wide selection of plants, small shrubs, herbs and flowers, all carefully curated for their ability to thrive in indoor settings.

And as residents of busy urban settlements become more alert to the potential dangers of outdoor air pollution and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), gases emitted from cleaning products and cooking oils, they are starting to see home gardening as a solution.

Plants like the bamboo palm, the peace lily and the rubber plant help absorb VOCs, while scientists say mother-in-law's tongue, the areca palm and the money plant can combat 2.5pm air pollution and reduce ozone levels.

You can also turn the clock back on the way you listen to music. Six months ago, Rolling Stone magazine declared that the age of owning music was “over,” remarking that “physical formats are cratering.” Per the Entertainment Retailers Association, in the UK alone, spending on streaming subscriptions grew by 38 percent last year, and now comprises over 62 percent of Brits’ music spending.

But while streaming takes over the mainstream, an analog musical counterculture is also booming. Old-fashioned, second-hand record players are becoming must-have home décor items that double as music players for audiophiles. Many companies have even begun selling ultra-chic new models with designs that hark back to the 1950s and 1960s – portable turntables in stylish, leather-look cases, or handmade wooden bases made by talented artisans.

Millennial urbanites have rediscovered the joys of browsing around flea markets looking for inexpensive second-hand LPs to play on their record players – digging in the crates for buried gold!

Like Clockwork

Clockwork is another technology that style gurus are falling in love with all over again. One of Ireland’s most famous woodwork artisans has recently unveiled a New York collection, comprising a watch storage cabinet whose drawers open up and rotate like the inner workings of a wind-up pocket watch.

Clock-makers, meanwhile, are turning to old valve amplifiers for inspiration for new timepieces, with 1980s-style calculator watches making a comeback. Some are going yet further back in time for inspiration, creating sundial-like pieces that unfailingly dazzle style-conscious guests.

Even lighting experts are having a go. Fittings are fashioned to look like Victorian-era plumbing, featuring bronze and copper mounts and long-coiled filaments that would not have looked out of place in Nikola Tesla’s laboratory at the turn of last century.

Manufacturers of digital goods have caught the buzz, too. New Bluetooth speakers are fashioned to resemble the old portable radios of the 1950s, while wireless PC keyboards are built in the image of pre-war typewriters, with rows of satisfyingly clunky keys set at an acute angle.

The age of the smart house may be upon us, but make no mistake: Analog’s comeback is very real – and will likely become more remarkable than ever as we find new ways to integrate the technologies and styles of bygone eras.

By Tim Alper(Journalist)

Tim Alper is a British journalist who has lived in Seoul for 11 years. He has contributed to publications such as The Guardian, The Jewish Chronicle, Joongang Ilbo, Weekly Chosun and Korean Air’s Morning Calm. He is also the author of the book Bananas & Couscous and the co-author of Have Fork, Will Travel.

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