Does anybody else feel as though Kanye West has been taking daily strides toward being more like Donald Trump? The rapper, producer, designer, and issuer of crazy and disturbing contributions to social discourse recently announced his intention to get into architecture (via Twitter, the preferred platform for people who hate facts).
This new venture is a collaborative effort involving Petra Kustrin, Jalil Peraza, and Nejc Skufca, in addition to West, and being pursued under the auspices of YEEZY Home, whose prevailing aesthetic seems to be “futuristic prison colony.” Who wouldn’t feel relaxed as they unwind in a Minimalist concrete box? Judging by a few of the group’s initial designs for pre-fab, concrete, low-income housing released by Peraza on Instagram, being incarcerated is going to be the next bit of cultural capital that rich white people adopt in aestheticized piecemeal from the experiences of poor people of color living the reality.
The Real Deal New York suggests West has had “a longstanding interest in architecture,” apparently largely based on the fact that he dropped in on the 2013 Harvard Graduate School of Design studios and announced to students, while standing atop a desk: “I really do believe that the world can be saved through design, and everything needs to actually be architected.” You heard the man: get to architecting, everyone! Prison would obviously be fine, if we just add some skylights, fireplaces, a rock garden. Yes, rock gardens scream ‘affordability.’
Are we 100% sure that the best judges of what makes good low-income housing are ludicrously rich people? Is this maybe tantamount to accepting lifestyle advice from Gwyneth Paltrow? Humble though its origins may be, polished concrete has become the preferred material of high-end art galleries and retail spaces. Is “affordable poured-concrete housing” the new code for “for-profit penal colony?”
But maybe I’m thinking too small. This is Kanye West, after all. Based on the look of YEEZY Home’s corporate office, with interiors designed by Willo Perron — who described the aesthetic as “post-core as core” — it’s possible that West is looking not just to emulate his hero Donald Trump’s familial wealth-building via massive cookie-cutter housing development, but to be the developer of record for the forthcoming Trump dictatorship. “I’m going to be one of the biggest real estate developers of all time,” West said recently. “Like what Howard Hughes was to aircrafts and what Henry Ford was to cars.”
So don’t bother buying one of YEEZY Home’s elegant prefab cells; soon all free-thinking individuals will likely be shuttled off to live in a concrete box anyway.