T. S. Elliot wrote:
One of the surest tests [of the superiority or inferiority of a poet] is the way in which a poet borrows. Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different. The good poet welds his theft into a whole of feeling which is unique, utterly different than that from which it is torn; the bad poet throws it into something which has no cohesion.
Le Corbusier reinterpreted it as "Good architects borrow, and great architects steal."
I thought of those quotes when seeing the MIMA Light on Designboom. It's a new design from MIMA, who previously were seen on TreeHugger with a very interesting prefab. The MIMA light is designed to be deliverable to anywhere in the European Union, so it is going to have a certain shape, long and thin, and height, so that it can be transported. The basic form is determined by the rules of the road.
But as I looked at it, I couldn't help but think of another design, the MiniMod, shown above, designed by Brazilian/Uruguayan firm MAPA, from a few years ago.
There are differences; the recessed end in one is a shower, in the other just a deck. And the MIMA has added the floating mirrored glass base, which apparently is an allusion to "minimalist sculpture of artists such as Donald Judd, John McCracken and Robert Morris." I worry that it will be a problem; these kinds of units often settle and have to be jacked up and adjusted if they are not set on concrete, and that might put some pressure on that mirror.
But there are other similarities, even in the photography; the MiniMod is in a field with sheep; the MIMA with a horse. Animals are not usually extras on an architectural photo shoot.
Architecture has always been about building on the work of others, about homage, about certain trends that become fashionable and get borrowed and imitated. Modular homes have always been shaped by the rules of the road. But sometimes, it can be a little too close for comfort.