Steampunk just died

IBM, using its online social sentiment analysis has declared Steampunk a Meme! - HA!

Not only that, but at the National Retail Federation Convention this week IBM predicts that during the next two years, “steampunk will shift from low production, high cost ‘craft’ manufacturing to mass production,”

sad, was sort of cool now its going to be kitche

check out these “goggles” on the Time magazines’ coverage. it’s a shame, some company hired a designer to knock off a grass roots trend hoping to cash-in.
Reminds me of a particular NY Fashion Week back in the late 90’s when they tried to do designer Seattle grunge style clothing lines - widely ridiculed and collosal market failures.

When will we learn?


Never liked it aesthetically. Now I have ammo to shoot it down when a client asks me about it.


Never liked it aesthetically. Now I have ammo to shoot it down when a client asks me about it.

Oh, I dunno, it’s been around since 1927 (Metropolis) in one for or another, and there’s a lot of artistic creativity displayed in SteamPunk; unique, highly crafted one of a kind stuff that a lot of people appreciate. The real stuff isn’t “industrial design-able” (being made from re-purposed found articles) and I think the people (both young and old) who are attracted to the genre will recognize that this new, manufactured SP isn’t … SP. The Time piece falls into that category, IMO. The off-shore market, on the other hand, will eat it up as fast as they can crank it out.

Interesting, and telling, that IBM now seems to think they can cash in on it. They had their chance when Brazil debuted in 1985.

Agreed, it has always been a sub genre of post industrial retro deconstructivism… it only got a name after the a few cyberpunk sci fi authors wrote a retro novel and the critics dubbed it steam punk. It will hit a big uptick in the next couple of years. Just look at last years tube amp iPhone dock speakers from Samsung. I don’t think they did well in the marketplace, but I think they were maybe 12-24 months too early.

The real stuff isn’t isn’t “industrial design-able” (being made from re-purposed found articles)

I agree with this, it is a highly customized craft aesthetic. I do like the industrial, re-purposed details, but as a trend that was ‘supposed’ to hit in '10, really hasn’t. It still lingers on and I do think it is fading. I believe consumers of this style like the intricacy of it, the individualist identity. Not as a mass-produced line of products, though. Square peg, round hole situation.

That’s definitely not steam punk.


Maybe not literally STEAM PUNK, but it could be taking the most positive visual attributes of the trend: blatant functionality mixed with a very old fashioned material refinement.

I remember a line from Sean Lenon in an old radio interview, discussing Victorian influence on his latest album. He described the era as a time of metal and leather, yet people were making strides in science, learning that the world they’ve always known is not what it seems.

Maybe not a lot has changed since then. We live with these sci fi like tools but still live within piles of bricks and drywall and are pulled along by exhaust spewing engines.

Outside of the trend being fetishized, I think it wants to convey how far we’ve come along and how far we have to go.

@yo that Samsung piece reminds me of this tuner I came across last week. You can see the glowing tubes reflected in the mirror, and you could even smell them burning. It was terrifically warm experience, both literally and figuratively.

I understand why the article was so skeptical, but I’ll be happy if we could bring some of that raw human/tech interaction into the product sphere.

It is influenced by it certainly, exposed tube amp and exposed hardware on the superfluous driver trim. It is the super mass produced version. Like what happens to concept cars, or the runway couture piece that influences what gets into H&M a year later…

After all, this isn’t going to mass commercialization anytime soon.


Anyone remember this somewhat-steampunk styled video from the band Tripping Daisy? I think this was early 90’s…

brings back some memeories :laughing:

This kind of sums it up.