Culture And Society
Work title: Clubland of the FX Beauties
The fictional women’s clubat the heart of Clubland of the FX Beauties entails both a cautionary tale suggesting the collapse of the financial markets, and agender critique. Conversely, its architectural expressionarises as an operation of insertion and deconstruction that, while embodying those fictional aims, also questions existing building typologies, and the symbolic role of interstitial spaces in defining a given urban identity. More than offering an alternative to the contribution of current money systems to the construction of architecture, the resulting proposal instead becomes an interesting attempt to use design thinking so as to probe the relationships between economy, gender and their spatial imprints in the city.
The trade and ‘gambling’ of money through the FOREX network has constructed a global infrastructure on dependency between the financial centers. Constituting itself in-between the
non-physical and official sphere of the money trade through the banks and the domestic setting the unofficial gambling represents, the trade itself symbolise contradictions. Rooted in a neo-classical economy, the exchange of money represents a fluent infrastructure, which can seem impossible to grasp.
The project ‘Clubland of the FX Beauties’ aims to identify the production of contemporary and individual money-making into a spatial context, responding as a commentary to the development of alternative economies as cultural and social exchange.
Contemporary FOREX trade, especially between London and Tokyo, is heavily linked and reliant on the unofficial domestic gambling represented through thirty-six Japanese housewives,
8 million unofficially, of the Japanese FX Beauties Club. A micro-economy and ‘un-payed labour’ driven by desire, that eventually can cause the (un) stability of the financial market to collapse. Since 2007, these women have increased the exchange of the YEN with other currencies and made the global economy dependent on their gambling by, at the peak, representing thirty percent of all retail currency trade out of Tokyo.
The FX Beauties seem to constitute an alternative economy and feminization of the existing market, both working with and against it. A ‘world’ which is un-regulated and therefore can be argued to play on the notion of the speculative, both within the whole system as well as among the traders. From their personal domestic settings the women gamble money through the
intertwined and ‘floating world’ of the FOREX web, outplaying the historical idea of the money market as being controlled purely by the male.
The FX Beauties Club proposes a physical women’s club and public square of the 21st Century, inhabited by the Japanese women of the factual FX Beauties and the closest context. Situated in the public ‘in-between’, the women’s club critiques the existing and historical gendered ‘man-made’ area of London by being sited in the space between the gentlemen’s clubs of the so called
‘club-land’, St. James. The architecture is built from the FX income made by the women themselves through the virtual connection of the computer. This both contributes to a constantly changing domestic sphere as well as the urban scale of the public space around the building. By using a palette of reflective and matte surfaces, the building begins to propose and invert boundaries between the clubs, the genders and the symbolic value of views crossing through both the feminine, the masculine clubs and the public space in-between.
The specific reflections and architectural compositions are used as a method of constructing spaces that begin to suggest an architecture that reflects the position of the FX Beauties as being ‘in-between’ two genders, cities and timezones.
The project is a reflection on the progress and process of contemporary money culture through the network of the women of the FX Beauties. Especially the wonder of how the rapid increase in the phenomenon of the FX Beauties will affect the future built space and the production of boundaries between the domestic and public in the urban scale. Regardless the built space, these women should be considered being part of an essential discussion between economy, gender and architecture.