Curious Trends


Retro cool gains a curious new flavour

Nothing beats a nice cooling ice cream at this time of the year, but the advent of high-tech Italian style ice cream parlours means there are ever fewer ice cream vans on our streets. In fact, the prosaic ice cream van has become something of a retro curiosity, and conferred with near iconic status by design professionals.

Charles Holland’s blog, Fantastic Journal, has a wonderful post: Make Mine A ’99: A Brief Design
History of the Ice Cream Van, praising the ‘exotic flamboyance’ of the kitsch camper-like creations. There’s even a Flikr site dedicated to ice cream vans.

Now, thanks to their curiously quirky design, the future of mobile refrigerators selling a universally loved product has also been given a modern twist via the Clouds Project. The brainchild of Zoe Papadopoulou and Cat Kramer, students at the Royal College of Art in London, this aims to use design, art and science to “frame a debate, and create interactions between people and their possible futures” on the subject of… nanotechnology.

Their re-fitted 1980s ice cream van has been popping up at arty events all over London, making ice cream flavoured clouds using liquid nitrogen, with the intention of stimulating discussion on nanotechnology and geoengineering.

Thus, the old fashioned ice cream van has been reborn as a ‘mobile fun-flavoured cloud machine’, though I anticipate there will still be plenty of demand for the traditional variety of the fabulous foodstuff...

Plus, there’s likely to be more interest than ever in hiring rare and unique classic ice cream vans for Summer arts events and festivals.

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