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Posts Tagged ‘manhole cover’

Photo: Tokyo Five, via Gwarlingo

Back in the early days of this blog (nearly five years ago), I posted about the imaginative Japanese manhole covers that I had seen at the Gwarlingo website. Now Asakiyume has clued me in to collectable cards made from the designs.

The Japan Times has the story. “The cards will be distributed for free to anyone who wants one at sewage plants and other facilities. Pictures of the manholes will be on one side of the cards, which are roughly business card size, while explanations about their designs will feature on the reverse side.

“The manhole designs differ from area to area, and often feature flowers and animals used as symbols in respective communities, or yuru kyara (local mascots). …

“The manhole cover designs are decided after asking the public for ideas, or through a competition among manufacturers of manhole covers. [Hideto Yamada of the GKP, a group including officials from local governments and the infrastructure ministry‚Äôs sewage management department] said he hoped the cards will help lift public interest in the sewage system.”

An even better way, I think, would be create greeting cards and postcards that could be sold widely and sent around the world.

More at the Japan Times, here.

Photo: Remo Camerota, via Gwarlingo
A design for a new drain cover.

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Four years ago, I blogged about some beautiful manhole covers is Japan. Now I learn that Minneapolis also has discovered the artistic possibilities of heavy, round metal that lots of people see as they cross the street.

Eric Grundhauser writes at Slate‘s Atlas Obscura blog, “Minneapolis has made its underfoot sewer covers a point of artistic pride, with designs that celebrate the area’s art, history, and wildlife.

“In the early 1980s, Minneapolis began asking artists to design iconic manhole covers for the city. … From David Atkinson’s whimsical summer grill design to Stuart D. Kippler’s introspective geography marker, each of the covers turned what was once a mundane city feature into a unique piece of art. …

“[Kate] Burke created sculpted images of regional icons like the Minnesota state fish (the walleye), the state fruit (Halverson apple), and the state bird (loon). The detailed pieces of steel each feature tableaux of their subject that make most municipal equipment look lazy by comparison.

“Some of the covers even feature small hidden details such as a worm in the state apple, or a pheasant erupting from the bronzed image of the state grain (wild rice).” More here.

I love that the Minnesotan sense of humor is part of the artistic effort. Reminds me of Massachusetts sculptor Mags Harries, who is still associated with the bronze banana peels, orange skins, and broken crates she embedded among the produce vendors in the Haymarket in 1976.

Photo: J Wynia/Creative Commons
Manhole cover in Minneapolis.

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