There is a phrase that I’ve used for years – I honestly don’t know if I made it up or if I heard it from someone else [but knowing me like I do, I probably made it up]
“Velvet rope” design
This is not meant as a positive comment and you certainly don’t want to hear me say it if we work together. It basically means that this is a bad design solution or that you are a lazy designer – either are qualities that you don’t want associated with your skill set.
Since I’ve used this phrase from time to time and NOBODY has ever known what I meant by it, I figure I might as well explain myself – maybe it’ll will catch on and add a new phrase to the architectural lexicon.
For people who might be too young to remember a time when actual velvet ropes were used, let me explain their purpose: velvet ropes are used to basically keep people from moving how they naturally want to move – in short – it’s a device to shepherd people along a predetermined path that is contrary to how they would typically move from point A to point B. If you don’t want someone to walk down a hallway you can do one of two things:
- Design the space so people intuitively know that they’re not supposed to walk down that hallway, or
- Put a velvet rope across the hallway so people know they aren’t supposed to walk there [e.g. lazy or bad design]
Whenever I review a design solution that isn’t very graceful – or doesn’t work at all – this is what I mean when I call it out as a “velvet rope” design. The people I have worked with knew that if they heard me say this phrase (once they understood it), knew what I meant. I didn’t have to call them out and break down their solution piece by piece – they knew that what they produced wasn’t what it needed to be.
Try again …
This isn’t ready …
Not good enough …
Velvet Rope design.
Like I said in the beginning, this isn’t a positive phrase but rather than having to explain something that was obvious to almost everyone, all you have to say is “that’s velvet rope design”
Happy non-velvet rope designing!