February 11, 2011


Storefront for Art and Architecture presented Interrogation Series: Brandscapes, the book launch of the second edition of Brandscapes : Architecture in the Experience Economy [MIT 2010] with an inquisitive dialogue between the author and interrogator, Anna Klingmann and Felix Burrichter respectively, about the state of branding in architecture. It will further the timeline of Klingmann’s book, discussing the way the economic burst and the recent economic recession have affected architecture in theory and in practice.



About the book
In the twenty-first century, we must learn to look at cities not as skylines but as brandscapes, and at buildings not as objects but as advertisements and destinations. In the experience economy, experience itself has become the product: we’re no longer consuming objects but sensations, even lifestyles. In the new environment of brandscapes, buildings are not about where we work and live but who we imagine ourselves to be. In Brandscapes, Anna Klingmann looks critically at the controversial practice of branding by examining its benefits, and considering the damage it may do.


Klingmann argues that architecture can use the concepts and methods of branding-not as a quick-and-easy selling tool for architects but as a strategic tool for economic and cultural transformation. Branding in architecture means the expression of identity, whether of an enterprise or a city; New York, Bilbao, and Shanghai have used architecture to enhance their images, generate economic growth, and elevate their positions in the global village. Klingmann looks at different kinds of brandscaping today, from Disneyland, Las Vegas, and Times Square-prototypes and case studies in branding-to Prada’s superstar-architect-designed shopping epicenters and the banalities of Niketown.


But beyond outlining the status quo, Klingmann also alerts us to the dangers of brandscapes. By favoring the creation of signature buildings over more comprehensive urban interventions and by severing their identity from the complexity of the social fabric, Klingmann argues, today’s brandscapes have, in many cases, resulted in a culture of the copy. As experiences become more and more commodified, and the global landscape progressively more homogenized, it falls to architects to infuse an ever more aseptic landscape with meaningful transformations.


How can architects use branding as a means to differentiate places from the inside out-and not, as current development practices seem to dictate, from the outside in? When architecture brings together ecology, economics, and social well-being to help people and places regain self-sufficiency, writes Klingmann, it can be a catalyst for cultural and economic transformation.


About the author

Anna Klingmann
is an architect and critic, and is the founder and principal of KL!NGMANN, an agency for architecture and brand building in New York. Her work has been published in AD Magazine, Daidalos, Architectural Record, Architecture d’Aujourd’hui, and other periodicals.

About the Interrogator

Felix Burrichter
is the Editor of Pin-Up Magazine, a biannual magazine for architectural entertainment.


Brandscapes : Architecture in the Experience Economy

Publisher: MIT Publishers
Language: English
Year: October 2010Second edition / 2010
Pages: 7 x 9, 378 pp.,
Illustrations: 100 illus.

Copies were available for purchase during the event.

With the support of Architizer and MIT press.



The Interrogation Series develops questions and interviews between institutionalized modes of inquiry and/or emerging discourses. The events aim to produce multiple methodologies of inquiry and ultimately extract a confession or obtain information from certain suspects in relation to a particular crime [book, building, photograph, thought,…] through a series of arguments, questions and [hopefully] answers.