On July 11th, Products of Design and eBay were proud to host Significant Cocktails, an evening of drink inspired by and in celebration of Significant Objects. Published by Fantagraphics, the book represents the third phase of the project that faculty member Rob Walker and writer Joshua Glenn dreamed up in 2009, hoping to test their hypothesis that fictional narrative has indisputable effect on objective value. Since then, they have paired tchotchkes and trinkets (none above the value of $1.25) with writers (Luc Sante, Colson Whitehead, and Jonathan Lethem, among many others), who have been charged with the task of creating fictive tales about their respective objects. The objects were then auctioned on eBay with the stories listed as their item descriptions. Validating Rob and Josh’s claim, many of the objects sold for a good deal more than they had been purchased for by the project’s curators—several fetched above $100. (Proceeds from these sales went to the two non-profits that are working to get young people writing: Girls Write Now and 826 National) The Fantagraphics edition compiles a number of the value-adding narratives along with raw data from the project for readers’ enjoyment.
It was only fitting that we fête the culmination of the Significant Objects project by honoring the supposed junk items that were raw material for this experiment. Faculty member Emilie Baltz invited three mixologists to have their own hand in creating drinkable odes to some of the items found in the book. Lynette Marerro, Michael Cirino, and Martim Smith-Mattsom each stood at a station adjacent to their given object, mixing inventive and delicious cocktails for our guests.
Scroll down to see the night’s cocktail menu along with photos of our guests—faculty members, designers, writers, editors, and significant object auction-winners, alike—as they milled about the Products of Design studio, mingled with each other and sipped on a trio of significant cocktails. For even more images, visit our Flickr. Thanks again to eBay for sponsoring the event!