Trend: church design

And so, until the middle of the 19th century (before the Meiji era), Japan developed approximately like Australia in its geological eras – behind its iron curtain, it became a dense reserve, not marsupials, of course, but the most relic and most original forms of culture. There was nothing more “original” than Japan – so the Europeans went crazy over it. But for the Japanese themselves, their identity made them vomit. This is how Soviet schoolchildren of the 80s dreamed of jeans and hated portraits of Lenin. 

When the Meiji era began, the Japanese first discovered that their military-industrial complex was outdated by 300 years and were ashamed of their wretchedness. Then they discovered that they are very short and slender – and the reason for this is the fact that in the traditional diet of the Japanese there is rice, fish and seaweed, but there is absolutely no meat, which, on the contrary, all Europeans, especially the British, gobble up for both cheeks. 

Finally, the Japanese were ashamed of even cutting their own eyes. Since then, all the new visual art in Japan has been amusing and surprising Europeans – these are the famous “huge round eyes of Japanese and Japanese women” – and the best example of this is anime cartoons.

“Steak with blood” and “Gothic cathedral” – what do they have in common?

What do a raven and a desk have in common? And the fact that the Japanese at some point began to defiantly hate everything “their own and the old” and childishly strive for everything “western and new”. The act of ordering a steak in a restaurant became a political act – it symbolized your loyalty to Westernization politics and Young Japan in general. But man does not only live by a single steak… Remembering the indisputable fact that it was the quarrel with the Vatican that led Japan to isolation and economic backwardness, the Japanese now fell in love with the “look of the old papal Europe” – in particular, the Catholic visuals.

Therefore, it is not surprising that the narrow colored stained-glass window of the Gothic pickaxe evokes the most positive series of associations in the Japanese. “Make the right choice! Be on the side of the strong! – this is what any stylistic allusion to European culture, whimsically interspersed in Japanese discourse, still says to the Japanese.

At some point, passions subsided, Japan changed its mind, and, noticing that Europeans, on the contrary, love “everything Japanese, everything outdated”, began to “sell their brand”, but of course … – only for export – for you and me . The Japanese themselves do not like – benches-sandals – geta, kimono, katana, raw fish and netsuke.

For themselves, within the national market, the Japanese can “sell” only that which does not in any way remind the Japanese of backward Japan “pre-Meiji”, but looks like industrial Manchester of the 19th century, transferred to the island of Honshu. Or like London’s business district of the City – moved to Tokyo.

In fact, the Japanese have not been able to completely stop loving “all their own, Japanese” – this is simply impossible, for many reasons. Firstly, the Europeans will not give it, and secondly, they themselves like it somewhere in some places.

Therefore, modern Japanese culture (which is reflected in advertising, design, and mass genre) is a strange mixture of something “mysteriously Japanese, authentic” with something extremely westernized and even “cheaply Americanized”. That’s what they are, the Japanese.

Therefore, you should not be surprised by the fact that for its domestic Japanese market, a Japanese cosmetic brand called Kabushiki Gaisha Shiseido chose this unusual way of self-promotion …

Showcase of a cosmetics store as a gothic stained glass window of a catholic cathedral

So, the Shiseido cosmetic brand came up with the following. Everyone likes live showcases, right? When Santa Clauses are waving your hand or ballerinas are dancing? But in Shiseido, the store windows react to your appearance in a completely different way.

Their storefront is a sensitive interactive display. When you pass by or linger for a moment, the store window reads the color scheme of your clothes and – immediately changes the stained-glass window palette depending on what colors you are wearing!

Well, in the middle of the glass there is a round frame in which your face immediately appears (for a few moments) – the window photographs it.

Now you will not have a question – why did the Japanese selling cosmetics need to flirt with the aesthetics of the chapels and abbeys of Europe far from them. Make the right choice! Be on the side of the strong!

Answer Second. “Shanghai is not China for you.” Any port city is like the great-grandfather of the idea of ​​tolerance and multiculturalism

But now broke into the port

french ship

In the glow of their spotlights.

Any seaport is a multinational monster. The monster is oblo, huge, stozevno and barking.

The one who lives and trades there is used to everything and knows… everything. He is not surprised neither by Negroes with rings in their noses, nor by English pastors with an umbrella under their arm, nor by Russian bearded captains treating them with vodka. Shanghai is the same colorful city as all port cities: like Odessa, like Cape Town or like the French port of Brest. He’s just the toughest of them all. After all, he mixes in his cocktail – the real Asia with the old Europe – and in perfect proportion.

In the 19th century, Shanghai was the capital of the world trade in Chinese opium … And it has always been home to far more European businessmen of all nations than the Shanghainese themselves. But there were also enough Shanghainese… The Shanghainese felt like an elite, looking back at mainland China. 

Each Shanghainese was involuntarily fluent in a dozen European languages, that is, he was a polyglot. And in my mind, in seconds, I accurately recalculated the current exchange rate and gold for calculation in the gateway – as if I had graduated from the Faculty of International Economics, although I did not have a single class of school behind me! 

Truly, Life itself gives the best education to a child. 

You are from Odessa, Mishka,

And that means – 

That you are not afraid of neither grief nor trouble!

After all, you are a sailor, Bear,

A sailor doesn’t cry!

And never loses courage!

And now our second example will be connected with the activities of one of the oldest firms in Shanghai. This architectural and design bureau is called Carlowitz & Co. Do you know what year it was opened? Already in 1877! 

Yes, you guessed it right – just at the height of the era of opium billionaires. Should they build palaces for themselves? It was Karlovitz and Co. who were solving this delicate problem – how to turn a nouveau riche into a nobleman. And then opium was added to women’s drops from hysteria, sleeping pills and the first painkiller – it was considered the best, just a “magic” remedy. The world did not yet have the concept of “drugs”. 

Why is the Chinese (sorry – shan-hai-ska-ya) company called – “Karlowitz and Company”?

Yes, because Shanghai is not China for you! The Shanghainese consider themselves a “superior race” and despise the Chinese. Indeed, there is a sharp noticeable difference between the Shanghainese and the Chinese. Shanghai a long time ago – “professes all religions” and “speaks all languages”. His craving for European and Christian culture is not forced and neurotic, like the Japanese, but quite natural and very healthy!

Noah’s Ark is an exquisite symbol of the multinational port of Shanghai and… a modern co-working space

Shanghai-based architectural firm Carlowitz & Co has built a co-shopping space stylized inside as Noah’s Ark. Since we do not know and will never know what the real Noah’s Ark looked like inside, we can assume that we will not be mistaken if we make it look like the ribbed, lancet ceiling of a Gothic church.

The building itself, in which coworking appeared, was built in 1898 and from the facade resembles old European buildings in the Art Nouveau style.

The firm thus double emphasizes its “Westernness”. “Chinese” is loved only by the Chinese themselves. Shanghainese deliberately emphasize their connection with the “foreign” (“white”) mentality.

To be ashamed to say, today Europeans are unlikely to be interested in references to Noah’s Ark – not all of them even know – “what Noah’s Ark is.”

So, once the Arabs saved the culture of antiquity lost in the Dark Ages of the Middle Ages, in particular, the scrolls with the texts of Aristotle and other Greek philosophers.

With the onset of the era of the second barbarism and the “Dark Ages”, we again have to hope that our values, despised by us, will be saved by completely strangers, people of a different culture – loving them much more than we do.

Answer Third. How do members of white Catholic families in the United States feel if, unfortunately for themselves, they were born “black sheep”?

Religion is very popular in the USA. Churches there – for every taste and skin color. Everyone is trying so that, unlike their neighbor, “grace descended” on them … Some people “go too far” in such a way that they cause a strong disgust for themselves. 

Negroes believe, white Catholics believe, white Protestants believe. The Indians believe… Yes, but “more” does not always mean “better”. 

Let’s take a look at what can grow out of a hybrid of low-cost Negro religiosity of the social classes – combined with the caste Catholicism of white racist rich people. The rich sometimes cry too…


Our third example takes the reader directly to the state of Georgia and its capital, Atlanta.

It is there that we will see the most shocking and strange cafe-club in the world called – Sister Louisa’s Church – “Church of Sister Louise”.

“Lust Catholic kitsch” – some origins of the phenomenon

And my mother was left alone.

And my mother called the sorcerer ..

Let’s start with the fact that Georgia is the “black South”, Dixieland, which means that the same Negro spiritual eclecticism flourishes there, which gave rise, in particular, to the religious cult of voodoo. 

The religion and shamanism of the lower Negroes perfectly combine kitsch images of roughly painted statues of Catholic saints, Christ and the Virgin, mixed with their own inventions, Baron Saturday, Papa Legba, horns, teeth, bones and hair of ritual animals…

Actually, the culture of blacks and half-breeds – and gave rise to the so-called “Christian kitsch”, which can be found not only in the South of the United States, but also in Brazil, and in Miami, and in all those places on the planet where black slaves tried to survive and take revenge on white exploiters , slowly conjuring, dancing, singing monotonously and causing indelible damage. 

Mexico can also be described in the same trend, only there instead of “black blacks” there are “dirty Indians”, and instead of Baron Saturday there are skeletons and skulls of the most beloved Mexican holiday – the Feast of the Dead …

But this is only the beginning of our conversation. The main part of it concerns the inventor of the most shocking cafe in Atlanta – Mr. Grant Henry!

Here is his photo!

The creator of the cafe Sister Louisa’s Church was born in 1956 in a very decent bourgeois white, one might say – elite – family and began a decent, almost diplomatic, career – he entered the Catholic Theological Academy to study there as a Padre and then train in Rome. Maybe even a cardinal.

The life of the young man promised to be cloudless. Born in a Negro state as a white Catholic child, he immediately from birth belonged to those – WHO is oppressed, not WHO is oppressed. He had nothing to fear or be ashamed of.

But trouble happened. The young man had a peculiarity – mystical-Catholic visions, moreover, very uncomfortable and scandalous. Being, most likely, a transgender or genderqueer – MtF – the young man suddenly felt like no young man, but some kind of “Sister Louise” – a young, pious and lovely Catholic nun.

Of course, erotic and semi-erotic delirium is always a frequent companion of young Catholics, but the administration has not tolerated such perversions. I had to leave the seminary in disgrace. 

So a young and talented snob with a good upbringing lost absolutely everything at once. He had the soul of Sergei Parajanov, Andy Warhol or Frida Kahlo – but “they don’t take astronauts like that”, especially in the Catholic nomenclature. He did not have those nomenklatura perversions and not those forgivable weaknesses that could be tolerated in a padre eager to become a cardinal. Okay, if he loved the choristers or took bribes, (engaged in church simony) or gorged himself. Even the classic obsession with shouting in Latin would be forgiven for him – this is very “traditional”.

But why the hell is it so “complicated”?

Grant Henry had an understandable psychological trauma – and he began to sublimate it quite Freudianly.

Grant Henry a.k.a. Sister Louisa became a controversial ecclesiastical kitsch-themed installation artist – and (as is often the case) began to “crack down” on those who had so annoyed him (her) in his youth. 

In general, I began to blaspheme little by little. Salvador Dali did the same – he also hated the incense-smelling Spanish authoritarian regime and his own strict dad.

As a controversial artist, Sister Louise (that is, the former Mr. Henry), however, was immediately accepted. But Atlanta tourists are warned right away: if you are a believing Christian and you have no sense of humor, this attraction is not for you, save your nerves.

At the cafe-club Church, Sister Louise plays ping-pong, sings karaoke, and hangs out under crude images of Christ mixed with Negro bunches of grass and goat horns.

And on Tuesdays, the “Women’s Tarot Club” is open there.

The owner of the establishment positions himself as a nun Sister Louise and does not respond to the hateful surname Henry. Surprisingly, the LGBT community is in no hurry to accept Grant Henry aka Sister Louisa into their ranks. It is too inconvenient even for LGBT people… After all, as you know, they also have big problems with a sense of humor and a broad outlook. Exactly like the Catholics of the United States … It is known that irreconcilable enemies often resemble each other like Tweedledum and Tweedledee …

I want to be somewhere on the side of this dreary predictable fight, and in this sense, Sister Louise has found her unique niche.

The answer is four. “Polish question” and “Polish quality”

Let’s start with what is Color Run. Our story must begin with this phenomenon, otherwise you simply will not understand anything.

Color Run is a new trendy world entertainment, a parody of the marathon distance. “Color Run” – this is how the Color Run is translated – this is such an acrimonious sports day, (Humorina), where everyone runs in all sorts of things and douses each other with colored Indian colors of Holi along the way. (They are pleasant and harmless to the skin, as they are natural). The idea was taken out by hippies from India from some local Vaishnava festival and took root in Europe.

The purpose of these running competitions is not to come first, but to hang out and get as much as possible smeared in the paint that is thrown at you by both the spectators and the running rivals. Each piece of the distance is its own paint. It’s fun with Color Run lovers, just like with Hare Krishnas, only at the same time no one is campaigning for you.

The madness of the Color Run clown relay has swept the world. That is why in the Polish People’s Republic (PNR) a shoe brand of sports shoes called The Run Colors was quickly created. It has branches in all cities of Poland – this is a local brand.

The Run Colors Warsaw is located, as you understand, in Warsaw. The store is located not just in Warsaw, but in the heart of its historical center, in a quarter that UNESCO has called “the cultural heritage of the planet.”

As you understand, the entire style of the quarter is very architectural and Catholic. There are only cathedrals around, where Poles go to gossip and pray to Matka Bozka. Dip your fingers in a deep stone bowl with holy water… Poland is “the beloved daughter of the Catholic Church”.

And now we have finally reached the “Polish quality” …

Why Poland has the worst cinema? Why don’t Poles love themselves?

– I have to sew a suit. Tell me for the cloth.

– What can I tell you for the cloth, dear Benya? English cloth is good cloth. Lodz cloth is sackcloth on which something is drawn. 

– And the Moscow cloth?

– And Moscow cloth is a sackcloth on which nothing is drawn.

Isaac Babel “Odessa stories”

Real Polish cinematography traditionally brings everyone to laughter and disgust. Even Uzbekfilm shoots better. To overcome this myth, Poland had to give birth to two geniuses, two Krzysztofs – Kieślowski and Zanussi. She couldn’t do it anymore… and they filmed abroad to shoot something good.

No one still knows the exact scientific answer to the question why the phrase “Polish quality” (whatever it is – the quality of cinema, vodka, bigos, ideas, clothes) is traditionally associated with some kind of bad side. If it’s a foreign car, then it’s stolen in the GDR and with broken numbers, if it’s vodka, then it’s singed, if it’s arrogance, then it’s gentry, not supported by anything …  

The Poles themselves hate and criticize themselves for this. Poland is not European, they say wistfully. That’s how the “Polish question” still dominates this beautiful country … After all, there are other examples in it.

And now to the idea of ​​a shoe store designed like a Catholic cathedral with stained glass windows. Go ahead, Reader! We will show you the best example of the mysterious “Polish quality”. This time the Polish quality showed itself in the space of creative and youthful design ideas. They are the same as Polish cinema. Here you will see…

The Run Colors Warsaw shoe store is located, as you understand, in Warsaw. In the center, stuffed with stained-glass cathedrals.

You probably already guessed that the name of the shoe store chain – Run Colors – has nothing to do with the international flash mob and the Color Run marathon – it has nothing at all. 

This is a typical – “Polish burnt vodka”. Let’s go further.

Having heard about the fashion for playing with the church style, the Poles designed the sneaker store in Warsaw in a special way.

Inside the interior, they arranged the famous “ribs” of the Gothic vault to hint at the interior of the Catholic church. This is the most important thing that the layman knows about the “flaming Gothic”.

Ribbed vault, frame system, criss-cross ribs…

Well, then, the Poles laid out colored sneakers on the shelves from floor to ceiling so that the color scheme of the placed shoes resembled a colored stained-glass window of a church window.

No, they didn’t post “portraits of saints” with sneakers – the Chinese are capable of this, the Poles are not capable of it. 

So mission accomplished! The Poles hinted at the same time:

  • and on the fashion trend “design in the style of an old cathedral”
  • and to a fashionable run with colors among young people – Color Run

And this is already a typical “Polish cinema”. That’s it, we’ve arrived.


It seems that people did their job well, they tried. But some vague feeling of “Polish quality” does not let go of this whole story. 

There are such untranslatable concepts that are difficult and do not need to be translated. Like the German word verschlimmbessern, which means “To make matters worse by trying to improve them.” Or the Turkish word yakamoz, which means “reflection of the moon in the water.”

“Polish quality” refers to the same beautiful, untranslatable, inexplicable, but for some reason immediately understandable gestalts.

Answer five. International. Features of non-national hunting

We Tatars have one hell:

What to flog to drag,

What to drag the flogged

But in our final example, everything is generally very, very boring, gentlemen. Because the design of birdhouses in the form of “chapels” came up with an international design agency. It is called – Frederik Roije. Birdhouses are called: Holy Homes.

As Raikin’s miniature says:

– I want to know who exactly sewed this jacket?

– We!!

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