A government-funded sculpture on the U.S.-Canada border offers a fresh look at, well, nothing.
Billboards line highways and busy urban intersections in a persistent effort to capture the attention of potential customers as they drive past (c'mon - who needs to watch the road any more?!)
Usually the subject matter is shameless and banal, but a new type of billboard erected at a border crossing near Vancouver, BC, shows that sometimes they can be downright thought-provoking as well.
The sculpture features a tangle of stainless steel rods, cleverly encasing a big chunk of Blaine, Washington's clean air. Viewed from the right angle, the sculpture creates a striking scene. Order surrounded by chaos? Simplicity hedged in by complexity? Nature choking in a cloud of pollution?
The installation, titled Non-Sign II is the work of Lead Pencil Studio, an avant garde art and architecture studio based in Seattle, Washington. Although it's definitely eye-catching, the intended purpose of the sculpture is exactly opposite that of normal billboards. Said Lead Pencil designer Daniel Mihalyo:
"Borrowing the effectiveness of billboards to redirect attention away from the landscape... this permanently open aperture between nations works to frame nothing more than a clear view of the changing atmospheric conditions beyond."
Although you might consider the federal government to be the antithesis of all things artistic and abstract, the border-station sculpture was made possible through the GSA's Design Excellence program.
The Lead Pencil Studio has built a reputation on combining art and architecture, and questioning the consumer-driven structures society is constantly erecting around us. Check out more of their work, including outdoor scaffolding in the middle of the Oregon grasslands, and full-scale shops (without any merch) in an old storefront.
Image Credits: Ian Gill courtesy of Lead Pencil Studio | via fastcodesign