Saturday, March 14, 2009

What is wrong with going stir-crazy: pt II

Many of you will remember my epic stapler review(here:, but I'm not satisfied with that, oh no. Instead, I'm not giving up until I write the most enthralling review about the most inane objects I can think of!

Here's one about a brick


By Corky McGee

If there was one darling to come out of last year's Leipzig Brick Show, it was the new Haigh brick which dazzled audiences and had brick journalists in a tizzy. Well, the day is finally here and today marks its release onto the market, but does the real deal measure up to the dazzling display at Leipzig?

For years builders and political activists alike had shown an alarming disinterest in the current generation of bricks, instead choosing to stay with the old standards such as the King and the Lindesay models, so it's no surprise the Haigh has proven to be one of the most anticipated brick releases in years.

Retaining a sleek finish, the Haigh manages to capture the charm of old-school design philosophies while adapting to emerging demands from China and India for Western building products. The Haigh will amaze many pundits with its compact design which will appeal to both markets.

Before this point, brick manufacturer's had to stake a place in either camp, and no firm has ever successfully managed to crack both markets simultaneously. Makers of the Haigh, BrickCo are hoping the brick will lead to an about face in brick market policies.

There's no doubt that in these harsh economic times, brick manufacturers are aiming to increase their market share, and to do so in multiple markets. By employing veteran project lead Jans Klaussen to head up the Haighproject, BrickCo have ensured a design which pushes forward in terms of adaptability and texture while retaining the classic brick-chic that he's known for.

The Haigh's texture was one of the things that dazzled at Leipzig, and we're pleased to report that this hasn't changed a bit at the point of release. The brick is still silky-smooth, but with a rough edge which makes the brick attractive to potential buyers. There's no doubt that under the gruff exterior of this brick is a soft and gentle side which is just so appealing.

We recently road-tested a preview model of the Haigh, and our political activists found it to be a better brick to work with as now they could throw the bricks through shop windows without having to use gloves, a key advantage when aiming for accuracy. Builders too said that after a day's build using the preview model, they felt as if they hadn't done any work at all owing to the milky texture of the brick not leaving any of the scuff marks long associated with the bricklayer.

In terms of shape, you couldn't ask for much more from the Haigh. Shape was one of the key reasons Klaussen was appointed project-lead for the brick, as his work on the Lindesay model helped forge a new generation of bricks, and BirckCo had suffered bad reviews for its previous releases regarding shape.

The shape is what you'd expect from a designer of Klaussen's experience, as the brick retains classic lines but changes things up with softer edges than we're used to seeing from his releases. It's clear that Klaussen has really tried to reinvigorate brick design from its recent slumber and this effort will force some textbooks to be re-written!

Klaussen with his design

Builders say the new design will be a godsend for those working all day long with bricks, as some of the tough lines of previous releases has left their hands with one too many tell-tale signs in the form of cuts to their hands. Political activists too are raving at the new shape, saying the softer edges actually increase the diameter of holes they can break in windows, rather than being a more concentrated area of destruction they've used in the past.

The Haigh also impresses with the colour scale employed. Rather than sporting a deep red as with most of the current releases, the Haigh uses a lighter touch and is more the better for it.

Whereas the market has been complaining about bricks all being the same colour in the past, the Haigh uses a deft touch to distinguish itself from the pack and by doing so distances itself from the frustrations consumers feel for the current generation of bricks.

The lighter tone lends itself a charm which brings back memories of a bygone era of brick design and reminds us that this brick is really what bricks are meant to be. The juxtaposition between its old world aesthetics and it's sleek new world design is a masterstroke from Klaussen who with the Haigh has reclaimed his rightful place at the summit of brick design.

Political activists, in particular are pleased as punch about getting their hands on the new brick, saying the old-school aesthetics reminds them of the work their pappies did in bringing down the government, and makes the political acts referenced by the brick a lot more poignant.

Indeed, Klaussen has always been a staunch activist and employed this new colour scheme in a majestic fashion in a nod to his predecessors. BrickCo may have been worried by Klaussen's revolutionary intent, smelling a PR disaster in the wake of the Tuscon incident, but their decision to allow Klaussen a free hand is one of the smartest business decisions they'll ever make.

Already, buyers from exotic shore have been lining up to sample the new brick, pleased the new style of brick reminds them of the fond days of colonialism. Now they'll not only be able to enjoy the comfort and sophistication of theHaigh but to appropriate the aesthetic meaning to protest western globalisation by lobbing one of the bricks through the nearest Starbucks franchise.

In closing, the Haigh measures up in every aspect to the promise shown by the Leipzig model employing some pretty cutting edge design philosophies by Klaussen to achieve an old-world charm. This is now the new standard by which new bricks will be measured, and I certainly look forward to how Klaussen and BrickCo plan to top this season's release.

P.S- I'm so lonely

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