Perhaps the greatest design company that never existed is ACME, that make-anything, deliver-anywhere parody of consumerisms seemingly limitless offer. ACME brand-stretched before brands even recognized themselves as brands.
ACMEs speedy delivery of anything to anywhere – even to the sparsely populated desert, home to serial ACME customer Wyle E. Coyote reminds me of Reyner Banhams essay on the Sears Roebuck mail order catalogue. He argued that these catalogues were pivotal in the occupation of the American West, that the delivery of gadgets enabled the colonisation of the frontier landscape. You could think of it as a kind of gadgetecture, and an example of fresh-from-the-box, instant urbanism.
Of course, part of the parody of consumerism is ACME products often fail to deliver on their incredible promise – see Coyote v. Acme Products Corp.
The ORIGINAL Illustrated Catalog Of ACME Products is a great website, which shows every ACME product. Below is a small selection, including my personal favorite (in name at least): the ACME FUTURE PUSH BUTTON HOME OF TOMORROW HOUSEHOLD APPLIANCE CO.
See also Rosemarie Fiores macabre ceramic landscapes which create new endings for the cartoon drama of Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner. Each is a what she describes as a “Death Scene”, where Coyotes traps, trips mechanics work smoothly, and the Roadrunner is killed – again and again.
“Death Scene: The Roadrunner is Squashed by a Jet Propelled Pogo Stick”
“Death Scene: the Roadrunner’s Head is Crushed by a Boxing Glove”