From Publishers Weekly
The principle behind this book is that buildings aren't just buildings, but rather iconic symbols that reflect who we are as people, cities and economies-in that sense, they represent a "brand" of sorts. Carrying that logic several steps short of its logical conclusion, architect and writer Klingmann looks at the "brandscapes" that cityscapes have become: "As a strategic tool for eliciting a relevant experience, architecture has an immediate impact on social relations and economic transactions... What counts in a building is not so much how it looks but how it comes to life for people." The problem with these and other statements throughout is that they come off as either vague or self-evident (perhaps as a result of her immersion in the subject-she's the founder of a New York agency "for architecture and brand building"). There is no doubt that Klingmann has passion and knowledge to spare, and that the general idea behind the book is valid, but esoteric, faux-academic writing ("The equation of Experience = Drama + Diversity + Detail can be discerned in the Parthenon almost as clearly as it can in contemporary commercial structures") too often substitutes for well-developed argument and clear-headed analysis. 100 illus.
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"As Anna Klingmann shows in this well-researched, and well-written book, brand and experience management are at the forefront of contemporary architectural theory and practice. Indeed, viewing buildings and architects as brands that provide experiences can provide a new and fresh perspective for the entire field of architecture. This insightful book provides a much-needed critical perspective on this emerging trend." Bernd Schmitt , author, Experiential Marketing and Customer Experience Management
"Heir to the heraldry of ancient kingdoms, today"s experience economies attempt to link the caprice of themed environments with thoroughly rationalized market strategies. As various strata of space making become increasingly reliant on psychic signaling as symbolic capital, the architecture profession indulges in another of its perennial crises about authenticity and meaning that never existed. Klingmann"s Brandscapes allows us to eavesdrop on this soul-searching, but she also whispers, in aside, "Where"s the tragedy?" Indeed, she argues that commodified desire may only give designers more precise and penetrating control over business plans and urban politics now under the affable spell of brand longing."Keller Easterling , Associate Professor, Yale University School of Architecture
" Brandscapes bravely argues for a public architecture to re-create delight, challenging designers to bring together the wow factor of consumer culture and people"s desire to belong. Klingmann makes us realize that good architecture can be both commercial and thematic -- and forces us to rethink the legacy of modernism for an unstable age."Sharon Zukin , author, The Cultures of Cities
" Brandscapes is the first architecture book that takes the Experience Economy as its premise to show architectsand by extension designers, engineers, and indeed all experience stagershow to create places that are authentic, meaningful, and engaging. If placemaking means anything to you, read Anna Klingman"s far-reaching book and apply its path-breaking principles." B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore , coauthors, The Experience Economy and Authenticity: What Consumers Really Want
"In the endlessly recombinant formats spawned by globalization, the meaning of architecture is forced to negotiate a slippery territory between identity, representation, and branding. With a rigorously jaundiced eye, Anna Klingmann unpacks this new place, offering a fascinating tour of both its perils and its possibilities."Michael Sorkin
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