Alexandra Lange
Architecture & design critic

I'll Miss You, Design Bots

A weekday, workaday afternoon. The endless scroll: News photos, airbrush artworks, animated GIFs,and – what is that? Peacock-blue satin, a regal flare. Click to still the image. It’s a chair, folded-back quilted fabric over a flared red base. It looks like the standup collar of a frock coat. It looks like the skirt of a princess dress. It looks like a parka.

It’s Gaetano Pesce’s Feltri armchair, designed in 1987 for Cassina and tweeted into my consciousness by slam_decorative, a Twitter bot created by Twitter user andrei that automatically shares objects from the St. Louis Art Museum Decorative Arts and Design department. The museum doesn’t run it.

Twitter bots like slam_decorative crawl public records and public collections and tweet historic, anarchic, and beautiful images and texts into your everyday feed. They provide an escape from the influencers, an escape from the algorithm, an escape from 2023 – or they will until February 9, because TwitterDev announced yesterday that the service will stop supporting free access to Twitter API and start charging, reportedly $99 per month for the basic tier.