Transforming the mundane into the m-a-r-v-e-l-o-u-s!

There are certain mundane objects that we see each and every day, but hardly think about. They have become the equivalent of background noise in our visual world. Such mundane items might include light poles, mailboxes, dumpsters, utility boxes, overpasses, exterior stairways, and the like. Needless to say, most of us don’t give these items a second glance…unless they have been transformed in some manner from mundane to marvelous. Several notable examples are provided below.


Dumpster in Traverse City, MI

Here in Traverse City, elementary school students have repainted a number of mundane downtown dumpsters into marvelous and colorful pictorial postcards of the area.


Utility Box in Santa Cruz, CA

In Santa Cruz, California, some of the mundane utility boxes that you see intermittently up and down street corridors have been transformed by area artists into colorful images of the city.


US 127 Overpass in Mt. Pleasant, MI

In Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, the mundane highway underpass of US 127 over M-20 has been transformed into a lush garden of flowery delights. A similar project underway in Lansing, Michigan will transform a mundane overpass into a painted work of art. Meanwhile the 16th Avenue Tiled Steps in San Francisco (below) are a gorgeous, eye-popping visual treat for residents and tourists alike.

16th Avenue Tiled Steps of San Francisco - Source:

16th Avenue Tiled Steps of San Francisco, CA – Source:

In all the listed instances above largely featureless items have been brought to life with a splash of color – whether done with paints or with plant life. It is quite amazing how the use of colors can be so transformative, not just for the object itself, but also for those of us who reap the visual benefits of the transformation. No longer are our eyes burdened with earth tones and steel grays, but instead they are engaged with bright and vivid colors. Objects that once blended into the streetscape suddenly become apparent as newly christened visual icons of one’s journey. All with a splash of paint or the planting of a few flowers.  As Billy Crystal so often said in his Fernando’s Hideaway skit…”You look m-a-r-v-e-l-o-u-s.”

This entry was posted in adaptive reuse, art, branding, bridges, cities, civics, civility, Communications, culture, diversity, fun, infrastructure, land use, pictures, placemaking, planning, product design, spatial design, urban planning and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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