Tod’s launched its “No_Code” project in November 2018 with the aim of creating an avant-garde and experimental environment within the Tod’s Group, where visionaries, designers and creatives could imagine new projects that married traditional Italian craftsmanship with modern technology and philosophy.
The project is certainly hitting its brief: from Qooder™ four-wheeled scooters produced with Swiss company Quadro, to an architectural exhibition with internationally renowned architectural firm Studio Andrea Caputo, and the Shoeker hybrid footwear concept by the Korean designer Yong Bae Seok. Their latest project is a photography book on the culture of Silicon Valley.
The premise behind Tod’s new coffee table book is that Silicon Valley is “no place.” This is correct in the sense that geographically, Silicon Valley does not exist. After all, there are no road signs that indicate where it ends and it begins. Other than being known for housing tech giants in a sprawling area with roughly defined borders, Tod’s asks: what is it?
To find out, the 100-year-old Italian luxury goods label paired with Iranian-American photographer Ramak Fazel, who is often described as “an anthropologist with a camera around his neck”. The commission was to embark on an anthropological inquiry of Silicon Valley, to look beyond the glitzy lens of technology and document what it really is like to live there.
What lies behind the official images of Big Tech? How do the inhabitants live? What restaurants do they eat at and what cars do they drive? How do they have fun?
The 128 images in the book were shot on analogue cameras (Fazel is inseparable from his Rolleiflex) over 10 days at the end of 2019, just before the pandemic changed the world. These photos are a bit of a shock, as they reveal a mostly suburban sprawl.
The illusion of Silicon Valley as a highly technological and futuristic environment is just that. There are no whizzing autonomous cars, no glinting glass towers. All of the technology innovation takes place in access-restricted complexes, away from the public.
The 190-page book, published and distributed by Rizzoli International, is now available for purchase at rizzoliusa.com and on Amazon.
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