Place in product


Products and commodities take on the qualities of the places from which they come. In their tendency to persist even in the context of geographically homogenizing forces, place differences permeate the artifacts whose creation they stimulate. Through an investigation of industrial design practice, I specify how factors like client referral systems, local art worlds, and the existence of prior physical infrastructure influence the substance of stuff. I also examine processes like migrants’ cultural self–selection, the formation of internal markets, and the nature of the local semiotic. The mechanisms through which such diverse elements combine into a local industrial atmosphere shape not just competitive advantage of one place over another in producing a given artifact, but the nature of goods that can come into existence.