Use Of Consumerism In Society Cultural Studies Essay

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The background of consumerism is the industrial revolution era back on the 18th century, where things are mass-produced that caused the price of the goods is decreased and more people were buying goods. Back then before industrial revolution, most of the people spend their money according to their needs, not what they desired. Even before this event started, some people, who mean the higher society class, already practiced that life style, since they had more priorities and privilege. As the matter of fact, consumerism also driven by pride, which means people did not spend things according to their needs, in the contrary their benchmark is other's people standard, which is one of the form of consumerism. The consumptive mentality had been rooted a long time ago that is still continuing until now.

Consumerism in this current world has not changed much from the previous centuries in terms of the idea behind it. In this current situation, people seems like they could not survive without consuming things, especially in Singapore where consuming culture are very strong. Since Singapore is a transitional country (a place that most of the time used for transit to go to another country), where by a lot of tourist come to Singapore, consuming culture has been the major issue. A quotation by Colin Campbell says that people consume things that are not needed, but desired. There is a difference between need and want or rather desire. Needs are the things that is necessary or primary to the quality of life. Desire is things that are beyond what we need, something that is secondary and the purpose of it is purely satisfactory. In order to fulfil the desire, most of the people are fulfilling their needs first, since those are the things that are important to their life.

The positive side of consumerism is to the producer or the one that provides the service of that particular goods or services. For some countries like Singapore, they would find it beneficial due to the tourism aspect that is so strong in that particular country. The negative side of it is the consumer itself, and to the global world, where by when people are continuously consuming, there would be no space on the earth to keep the things that people bought, which one of the reason of it would be sustainability. When this mentality has not stopped, it brings the world into a big crisis. Producer tries to fulfil the needs of the user, but in the other hand, the recourses are getting lesser and in balance that caused a global warming.

The human beings in all cultures seem to agree on a basic list of activities, which is pleasured in this sense, such as eating, drinking, sexual intercourse, socializing, singing, dancing, and playing games. But since pleasure' is a quality of experience it can, at least in principle, be judged to be present in all sensations. This is quoted from Colin Campbell (2003, pp. 49)

The articles stated that pleasured is not just basic activities, such as eating, drinking, sex, socializing, singing, however it is a quality experience. The quality experience can be gain from visiting interesting spaces that the memory of the space and the intangible aspects of the spaces would stay in people's mind.

Consumerism has influences on environmental experiences, where by it is not just about buying things, but it also about experiences the services and the environment, since consumerism not only fulfil the basic needs but also the invisible needs of a person which one of it is quality experiences.

2. Consumerism in hospitality

Since consumerism is also about environmental experiences, hospitality is a topic that is connected to it. Hospitality serves services, environment, and atmosphere. Hospitality especially boutique hotel, the environment and ambiance is the selling point, which it has to be unique and would be a different experience for the people or guest that come to that particular hotel.

The basic theory of consumerism, which is consumerism has influences in environmental experiences, where by according to Kotler (1973) the atmosphere, which means the environment, the lighting, music, crowd, and social factors will determine whether the customer will stay longer, spend more or less money, and also returns at later date. It is shown how important is to consider or rather pay more attention to the atmosphere that are created.

2.1. A case Study: Lucerne Hotel

A case study on Lucerne Hotel in Switzerland is an example of how to create a boutique hotel that has a special experience from any other hotel. Jean Nouvel created the Lucerne Hotel with the intention was to create a boutique hotel with the sense of escape through the illusions of mural painting by adopting the images from the chosen films. The experience that is gained from walking through that particular space is the erotic and broody feeling. He created each room with different images and he used the same colour scheme and lighting, that created the same feeling but in the other hand no image is the same. (Please refer to figure 1). From the façade of the hotel, the painting is like being displayed facing the streets (figure 2), that could be also a glimpse of what is happened in the hotel, which also addressing to the quality experience that people gained from visiting a certain place.

figure 1- room figure 2 - façade

2.2. Boutique Hotel in Singapore

Boutique hotel has also addressing to the market niche, since there is a growth in boutique hotel in Singapore. The niche is shown on a statistics by Singapore Tourism Board, that 60% of visitors that come to Singapore stays in hotel. (figure 3). Another statistics in Singapore Tourism Board also shown that over the total visitors that came to Singapore, 40% of them are going on holiday purpose. (figure 4). According to the analysis, it is beneficial to create a boutique hotel that the target market is the busy people that took a holiday in Singapore. Where they need to escape from their busy life and get refreshed and at the same time experience the uniqueness that the hotel has provides.

figure3 -type of accommodation figure 4- purpose of visit

In Singapore, the issue that appears is that since Singapore is supporting consumerism, caused them to neglect the quality of the product rather that quantity. Quantity seems more important, that makes them to get more income. The issue is occurred since most of boutique hotel in Singapore is built in shophouses that has a certain historical value that they need to adapt in their design to that certain building that caused certain rooms had no windows or ventilations due to the limitations of the preliminary site and the spatial divisions of each room. On the contrary, the theory requires that ambiance or the atmosphere, which also include the circulation of the air, was not carefully taking into consideration.

2.3. Resolving through design

Since in Singapore really stressing out consumerism, quantity seems more than quality. By maximizing the spaces without any careful consideration to the context of the site, by means natural sunlight that cause decreased quality of a hotel. For example, there is less consideration about the natural sunlight that coming through the rooms. The solution through design is by puncture a hole that lightened up the rooms that has no window so that the particular room has more air circulation, which also addressing the issue and the theory of consumerism, which are the things that determine the satisfaction of the customers.

2.4. How to design unique?

Another way of creating a unique design is hideaway. Hideaway is enhanced by hiding and revealing spaces, through creating openings that is gradually increase by size. Hiding and revealing could also be communicated by creating a corridor and pathway that leading into a certain spaces. Hiding and revealing is evident in smaller and bigger scale, where by the user of the space is led into a certain area. The element of surprise is one of the key features where by if they walk trough it, at some point of time they will reveal something. It also caused the feeling of curious since the person would not know what is ahead of them. In smaller scale is in the room itself, where by bed and bath up are hided from the user of the space, that they could reveal it as they are using the space. The bed are not displayed from the entrance of the rooms like the normal hotel do, however it is hided behind the walls, and the bath up is also hided inside the floor. The element of hiding is for the guest of the hotel to have their privacy, and reveal is to boost the interesting spaces. The experience that is consumed would be the selling point of the boutique hotel where by the memories of that particular space is left on the person.

2.5. Atmosphere of the spaces

Atmosphere plays an important role in creating environment, which also explained in the paragraph before. In hideaway, the atmosphere is translated into something that is relaxing, since the target market are busy people that want to escape from their busy life. Relaxed translated by bring natural sunlight and nature to the spaces, and also the use of certain materials that reflects the intention of the spaces. The example is to use wood and bricks that would give the feeling of relaxed and comfort, and various glasses, such clear glass and frosted glass to boost or hide something. The idea of it was to use materials in its own characteristics and properties. The lighting of the spaces also play role in it, by creating a certain ambiance through the lighting. Lighting also one of the key aspects where by it will influence the entire atmosphere. In hideaway, the lighting is designed according to the journey that people would feel, for example the corridor will be in deem lighting, and in the key feature spaces it would be more attracts people attention. In hideaway, the same principal also taken due to the importance of how one want people to experience the spaces that caused them wanted to return to the particular space.

2.6. Hideaway boosts consumerism

How does hideaway boost consumerism? Hideaway is the solution to the of customer's fulfilment or desire, where the design meets the issue and it also boots consumerism. Through the experiences that is consumed and it become the selling point of that particular journey. In Hideaway, people tend to be curious as they walking through the spaces, since every point of time there is time of revealing, that is supported by certain lighting and materials.

3. Hideaway as the solution

To bring into an end, consumerism is not just basic activities, hence it is also a quality experiences. The quality experiences can be gain from visiting interesting spaces. According to the demand that needs to be meet, boutique hotel has a potential to fulfilling the needs of the demand. Boutique hotel is unique, that created to deliver different experiences, and one of the examples is the Lucerne Hotel in Switzerland. The architect was using mural painting to create the feeling of escape through illusion of mural paintings, which the result is the feeling of erotic and broody. Another example is hideaway that is enhanced by hiding and revealing spaces and experienced through the journey of the spaces, that would stay in people's memory. Design boost consumerism by using atmosphere, which is colours, lighting, and also materials. Hideaway should be the answer to the issues that has been occurred in Singapore, where by quantity is more important that quality. The solution is to carefully consider the existence of natural lighting in each room due to the importance of the people that will stay in the rooms. In the other hand it also needs to fulfil the customer's needs, by addressing to the theory and the issues.

List of References

Campbell, Colin,. Traditional and Modern Hedonism In Clarke, David B, Doel, Marcus A., Housiaux, Kate M. L., ed. The consumption reader, New York: Routledge. Ch. 4.

Firat, A. Fuat, Dholakia, Nikhilesh, 1998. Consuming People: From political economy to theaters of consumption. London: Routledge.

Stearns, N. Peter, 2003. Consumerism in World History: The global transformation of desire. New York: Routledge.

Blythe, Jim. 2008. Consumer Behavior. Italy: Jenifer Pegg.

Fine, Ben, Leopold, Ellen. Consumerism and the Industrial Revolution In Clarke, David B, Doel, Marcus A., Housiaux, Kate M. L., ed. The consumption reader, New York: Routledge. Ch. 3.

Stebbins, A. Robert, 2004. Between Work & Leisure: The common ground of two separate worlds. London: Transaction Publisher.