Populuxe Scenery and Lighting

Posted by William Davies King on Monday, May 6, 2013.

Seems like there's always a better idea, and never more so than when I was a kid. Lines got streamed, pep went into the step, and the tube held us fast. We were populuxed indeed.

  populuxe--man with newspaper

That word was born just about when I was, and then quietly went somewhere else for a while. My generation tried not to notice the traces of it in us for a few decades, but then it came back as a collectible.

No one has attended to its return so faithfully as Thomas Hine, who in 1986 published a book with that title. He now runs a website called Populuxe, a golden spot for design.

The words of Thomas Hine, from the website: "Populuxe is a synthetic word, created in the spirit of the many coined words of the time. Madison Avenue kept inventing words like "autodynamic," which described a shape of car which made no sense aerodynamically. Gardol was an invisible shield that stopped bullets and hard-hit baseballs to dramatize the effectiveness of a toothpaste. It was more a metaphor than an ingredient. Slenderella was a way to lose weight, and maybe meet a prince besides. Like these synthetic words, Populuxe has readfly identifiable roots, and it reaches toward an ineffable emotion. It derives, of course, from populism and popularity, with just a fleeting allusion to pop art, which took Populuxe imagery and attitudes as subject matter. And it has luxury, popular luxury, luxury for all. This may be a contradiction in terms, but it is an expression of the spirit of the time and the rationale for many of the products that were produced. And, finally, Populuxe contains a thoroughly unnecessary "e," to give it class. That final embellishment of a practical and straightforward invention is what makes the word Populuxe, well, Populuxe."

I relocated populuxe in Selden and Sellman, which was long one of the standard textbooks of stage design.

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